Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have become a hot commodity, and a valuable one at that. In fact, some of these digital assets have sold for millions while countless have sold for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, with the industry being such a new one, most consumers don’t know much about them. I was talking to my dad the other day, telling him about a project that was launching, and he asked a question that I’ve been asked quite a bit as of late. “What are NFTs used for?”
You see, while many beginners focus on the idea that NFTs are art, and they are, there has never been art like this in the past. Not only does it live in the digital realm, these pieces of art come with utility, but what uses actually exist and what may come down the line?
NFTs Are Used as Art
First and foremost, NFTs are indeed art. In fact, many mainstream artists have jumped into the industry as a way to attract a new audience. Even infamous art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi, has announced that he’s diving into the NFT space, bringing unique art to the digital realm.
As is the case with any piece of art, original works can be worth quite a bit of money. In the NFT world, one-of-one art pieces have been highly regarded and often sell for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
NFTs Provide Access
Aside from simply being digital works of art, NFTs come with utility. One of the first ways these digital tokens were used was as a digital ticket that allowed those who owned certain types of NFTs access to exclusive content from the project they were associated with.
For example, Bored Apes Yacht Club is one of the most popular projects on the market today, with some of their works selling for millions of dollars. Those who own these tokens characterized by unique apes with different facial expressions and apparel have access to the members-only section of the BAYC website where exclusive content is housed.
NFTs have begun being used as somewhat of a ticketing system. Some projects have hosted real-life events, but to access them, you have to have an NFT from the project that’s throwing the event.
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NFTs as Placeholders
One of the biggest stories to hit the tape as of late surrounds the fact that Glenfiddich, a popular high-end brand of scotch whiskey, announced the launch of its own NFTs. However, these weren’t like anything else on the market.
The NFTs were attached to a super-rare bottle of scotch; only 15 of them were ever made. However, when consumers shell out the $15,000 it costs for one of those bottles, they don’t actually get the scotch. Instead, they received an NFT that could be collected, traded, or sold.
The bottles of scotch are being stored in a safe, climate-controlled environment, and when the owner of the NFT wants the bottle, they simply redeem the art and the bottle will be sent to them.
NFTs as Certificates of Authenticity
There are several high-priced products that have been counterfeited through the years. Unfortunately, when the counterfeit is a good one, it takes a high-priced expert to determine whether the product is a fake or not.
NFTs are starting to provide a solution to that issue as well.
When high-end products are created, the creators can attach an NFT to those products with the NFT acting as a certificate of authenticity. Unlike old-school certificates of authenticity, these certificates live on the blockchain. That means they themselves cannot be forged and whoever holds the NFT is truly the owner of the original good!
NFTs In Gaming
The gaming industry is a massive one, and many in the industry have latched onto the Web3 concept. In the old days of gaming, when you played a first-person shooter game and earned your favorite gun, that gun had value in the game. It helped you win more levels. Once you were done with the game, there was no real value in owning the gun.
However, in the gaming of the future, that gun would have real-world value.
In the future of gaming, when the gun is earned, it would be delivered to the consumer by way of NFT, rather than as a digital file that lived on their gaming console. The gun from the NFT is able to be used in the game, but when you’re done playing the game, you’re also able to sell it, or trade it for a car in a racing game you just purchased.
NFTs In Healthcare
One of the biggest problems facing the healthcare industry today has to do with patient data. Due to stringent regulations, healthcare providers find it difficult to get accurate information on their patients. Moreover, patients often forget to provide crucial information that providers need to determine the best, most effective treatment possible.
NFTs have the potential to change that.
There are several companies working on NFTs that live on the blockchain and house patient data. When a patient goes to a new doctor or specialist, they will be able to provide access to the token, which allows the provider to add to the patient’s file. As a result, every physician with access to the token will have accurate data on the patients they serve. Should this come to fruition, it will save the United States economy millions of dollars while saving countless lives from the prescription of unnecessary and often dangerous treatments.
NFTs In Business
NFTs have also found their way into the corporate world. Some of the most common business uses for these tokens include:
- Incentives. Big companies like McDonalds have launched NFTs that are given to customers as prizes, ultimately incentivising sales. Other companies have used NFTs to incentivise employees, resulting in increased production.
- Business Recognition. There are several new businesses created every day. Some of them are beginning to use their NFTs in their logos, on merchandise, and more.
- Communication. Finally, NFTs open a new line of communication from businesses to consumers and back. Some companies are using these tokens to create a community that brings new consumers into their ecosystem through day-to-day communication.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that NFTs aren’t just digital works of art. They act as keys to content, tools for business, and much more. In the beginning days of the internet, it was much like Web3. Companies were scrambling to learn how to use it to their benefit while those that latched on early couldn’t get enough. Now, we’re moving into a new wave of the internet, setting the stage for a complete technological renaissance ahead.