Reddit started an NFT-based marketplace in July where users can buy profile pictures that are stored on the blockchain for a set price. You might think, as I do, that the experiment failed because of how people feel about NFTs right now. But it looks like the opposite is true.
Pali Bhat, Reddit’s chief product officer, said today at TechCrunch Disrupt that more than three million users have made more than three million crypto wallets on Reddit’s Vault blockchain wallet. He said that almost 3 million of them were made just to get NFT avatars to use as profile pictures.
Since not all NFT marketplaces voluntarily share this kind of information, it’s hard to know how to make sense of the numbers. A recent report by Dune Analytics says that as of January, OpenSea, one of the top platforms, had more than a million active wallets. Also, as of March, there were more than 30 million users of the cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask.
With the help of about 30 artists, Reddit put out about 40,000 NFT avatar designs a few months ago that could be bought in the Reddit mobile app for $9.99 to $99.99. (At the moment, there are none left.) Users who bought a limited-edition image were allowed to use it as their avatar on and off Reddit. They also had access to a custom-made avatar creator that let them combine different parts to make a unique look.
The avatars on Reddit were made with the help of Polygon, a blockchain that works with Ethereum. (In blockchain lingo, “minting” means to make a new NFT that can be traded.) NFTs can be saved and managed in Vault using the Reddit mobile app.
Reddit recently joined the NFT world, just like Twitter did before it, by letting users use any NFT as their profile picture. Back in the day, you could only get NFT avatars on the invite-only subreddit r/CollectibleAvatars.
In the past few months, Reddit has grown in more ways than just NFTs as it looks for new ways to make money. The company has thought about making tools like TikTok for editing videos, and it has bought several companies for strategic reasons, such as content moderation startup Oterlu, natural language processing company MeaningCloud, machine learning platform Spell, and contextualization company Spiketrap. Reddit also added new discovery features to its live audio product, Reddit Talk, and redesigned its developer portal so that it can work with third-party apps and bots.