Discord Backs Off of Crypto After Entire Internet Yells at CEO

When the CEO of the gaming-focused chat platform teased crypto integration this week, the response was swift and brutal.
Discord Backs Off of Crypto After Entire Internet Yells at CEO
Discord CEO Jason Citron

Earlier this week, Discord CEO Jason Citron posted a tweet teasing integration between the gaming-focused chat platform and Ethereum, setting off a total shitstorm.

The discourse around cryptocurrencies and blockchain collectibles such as NFTs, many of which run on Ethereum, has become extremely heated as of late and it appeared to boil over with Citron's tweet. "Probably nothing," the CEO tweeted on Monday, captioning a screenshot showing Ethereum wallet integration with Discord. While crypto fans immediately cheered the tease, the response elsewhere was swift and brutal. People piled on to Citron's tweet, which garnered thousands of replies and quote-tweets, and many on social media promised to cancel their paid Discord Nitro subscriptions if the platform integrated crypto. The backlash gained so much steam that when Discord sent a notice to users offering a free month of Nitro upon signup to users this week, a viral tweet encouraged people not to take the offer up as they speculated it was cover for the disastrous response to Citron's crypto tweet. 

Now, it appears that Discord has heard the complaints. In a tweet on Wednesday night, Citron clarified that Discord currently does not have plans to roll out integration with Ethereum wallets.

"Thanks for all the perspectives everyone," Citron tweeted. "We have no current plans to ship this internal concept. For now we're focused on protecting users from spam, scams and fraud. Web3 has lots of good but also lots of problems we need to work through at our scale. More soon."

Crypto and NFT projects put Discord in an odd position. Crypto is all over Discord, with many projects in the NFT space and beyond maintaining busy Discord servers with tens of thousands of users. People buy NFTs in Discord, and communities are run from servers. On the other hand, many crypto and NFT scams are also run from Discord, with servers being shut down overnight when scammy developers decide to cut and run. It's hard to imagine Discord ignoring all of that for much longer, and even without Ethereum wallet integration Citron's tweet implies that Discord is looking at fraud protection tools. 

More than anything, though, the Discord incident revealed just how entrenched the battle lines have become in the culture war over NFTs. Investors are making millions in the frothy market and, most likely due to that fact, video game companies are all making overtures towards integrating NFTs into their future products. At the same time, many video game players and video game-adjacent people despise them with a burning passion, either because of the environmental impact of proof-of-work tokens on Ethereum, the idea that blockchain collectibles are a grift based on mythical thinking, or both. 

Most likely, we haven't seen the last incident like this, because by all indications crypto and NFTs are not imminently going away. And neither are the critics.