Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are one of the bigger use-cases for blockchain technology that we see in its application today. Global use-cases for the technology have enabled the online sale of collectibles, goods, tickets, identity verification systems and more. But while the current adoption of NFTs and blockchain technology have earned a lot of media attention for collectibles and digital art, the long-term applications of the technology will enable far greater use cases as blockchain adoption expands in the future.
An NFT is a digital token (essentially a line of code) issued to certain goods or services that can’t be altered or reproduced exactly the same once it gets minted onto a blockchain network. Since transactions on a blockchain are transparent, users are able to easily transfer ownership of an NFT from one wallet to another with a straight forward way to authenticate it. This creates a system of trustless online transactions where two parties can anonymously trade goods and services without a buyer worrying that those goods are not authentic.
To look at that definition in one of the most widely-used applications of NFT technology, NFTs allow for the instant authentication of goods, both physical and digital. Picture that you have a rare piece of art, such as the Mona Lisa, and you want to sell it. To sell that piece you would have to get it authenticated by an appraiser—specifically one that your buyer will trust—and then negotiate a price once the piece is proven to be authentic. An NFT cuts out that process, as buyers can look at the history of the piece and see every transaction it’s gone through, including who its original creator was.
Art NFTs have become one of the most popular applications of the technology over the last couple of years, but the real value in many art NFTs lies in their access to other things, not just their face value as a collectible. A rising trend in the art NFT space is to attach utility to the product. For example, a piece of art may also grant its holder access to special events in certain cities, a community of well connected NFT holders, or even the IP rights to sell merchandise of the NFT’s art itself.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most popular and most expensive NFTs in the space today, garnered its high price tag with its exclusive and well-connected community of holders. It gives its holders IP rights to their respective NFT’s design (each NFT in the collection is a different character of an unamused ape), as well as access to special events. As one iteration of the Bored Ape NFT collection sees viral success in an individual project (one holder recently opened a Bored Ape restaurant branded after his own Bored Ape), the entire collection increases in value.
In the social world, NFT collections like Bored Ape carry with them social currency to open doors of opportunity to holders. The digital Bored Ape community acts as a private chatroom and social platform where holders can mingle with one another and network. In the real world, Bored Ape holders can secure invites to private events and get access to places they never could before.
NFTs have proven use-cases in other industries as well. The gaming industry has been able to create play-to-earn games that work with NFTs. Players purchase an NFT of a character in the game and use that character to play games that can earn cryptocurrency tokens. Those cryptocurrency tokens can then be transferred to other tokens or even fiat currency to earn players a profit. Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn NFT game getting lots of attention in the media, is just one of the dozens of play-to-earn NFT games to come into fruition in recent months.
NFTs have use-cases in the fashion industry—particularly in luxury high fashion—as authentication mechanisms for physical goods in the real world. Consumers that purchase a handbag, for example, will be issued an NFT to go alongside their purchase with an RFID chip attached to the bag in some way that pairs it with its token. The NFT can be used to authenticate the product and prevent scams in the resale industry, increasing the overall value of the product.
Events such as the Coachella Valley Music + Arts Festival have begun to adopt NFTs as a way of ticketing special access and admissions to the festival. The Coachella NFT collection unveiled for 2022 will grant holders lifelong access to the festival for as long as they hold the NFT (holders can transfer access by selling the NFT to someone new). At the festival itself, the NFT will grant special access to private events, special entry to the festival, or even special merchandise and goods created just for holders.
Widespread adoption of NFTs into the events industry will likely see concert and sports tickets issued as non-fungible tokens to prevent ticket scalping in the future. NFT creators can control certain aspects of the resale market, such as putting a cap on how much an NFT can be resold for as a way of preventing inflation of ticket prices on sold-out events. For an event like Coachella, for example, the festival could demand that tickets are not resold for more than face value. Since that stipulation is written into the token, scalpers will not have the option of being able to inflate the ticket price to make a profit. The authentication of NFTs will also enable instant verification, preventing ticket scammers from selling fake tickets both online and in person.
Because NFTs hold value as digital assets, they can be used as collateral on DeFi loans or transactions. Holders can put their NFTs up as collateral to solve the problem of collateralization in the DeFi space, as well as other opportunities for investors to tie DeFi into physical investments in the real world. For example, celebrity Logan Paul recently launched a platform to allow retail investors a way to own fractional shares on digital and physical collectibles by tokenizing NFTs into cryptocurrencies.
3air NFTs enable access to internet connectivity services. Users will purchase access to the 3air broadband internet network by purchasing an NFT with the subscription service of their choice. Subscriptions can be sold and transferred to different wallets, letting users easily transfer their connectivity between friends and family, or simply from one device to another. Such a system also allows for gifting or donating connectivity without a middle man taking a cut. Imagine providing students from a school in Africa a month or 2 of internet connection. Simply buy a 3air NFT and send it to their wallet. Done!
On another level, the 3air NFT will serve as an educational tool to introduce new use cases to consumers. NFTs provide a level of digital ownership never available before. Today, the NFT space is filled with eager and passionate investors looking to expand blockchain and Web3 into new places, but the general public lacks a basic understanding of how the tech can be applied beyond art and collectibles. 3air hopes to bridge that gap with a product that demonstrates a different use case, but is easy to use and apply to daily life.
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