A second life for NFTs

Men walk in front of Starbucks; NFTs usher in a second wave (Pic: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP)

Authenticated digital objects, known as NFTs, have been labeled in a number of ways: for some it’s a fad, for others a prank. But early adopters believe they have a future as tools for business, health and art, not just digital collections.

The wave of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that broke out more than a year ago has brought millions of dollars of works to the world.

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It is a digital format associated with virtual objects that are considered unique, whether they are photos, animations, paintings, videos or even songs. It is a certificate of authenticity registered in the blockchain – the blockchain – the technology that is also the basis of cryptocurrencies.

This booming world of digital assets has opened up a new market worth billions of dollars and sparked debate about their usefulness in the real world.

“NFTs are very rudimentary right now,” said Sandy Khaund, founder of Credenza, a startup that helps companies looking to adopt new blockchain technology. Outside of the art world, “they don’t have much function or utility,” he added.

However, there is one class of digital assets that bridges the gap between the real and virtual worlds.

Coffee chain Starbucks is preparing to launch its own NFTs, arguing that they are “programmable digital assets that can be used both as a brand and as an access pass.”

Owning the coffee giant’s NFTs will pave the way for “unique experiences” and “communities,” a new vision for a blockchain-based customer loyalty program.

On an institutional level, the Small Republic of San Marino launched a coronavirus vaccination passport using NFT technology in July.

While European digital certificates are only available in the European Union, this passport is designed to be verified anywhere without the need for a specific mobile app.

– “Guaranteed Crazy” –

For its part, Credenza has held talks with sports teams and leagues to develop a vision for a multipurpose NFT.

Jenn McMillen of the marketing firm Incendio cites the rock band Kings of Leon for incorporating technology into their work.

The group released eight “Golden Tickets” as part of the NFT release of their album “When You See Yourself”. Each of them guarantees four front-row seats at all performances on their future tours.

“For a brand, you have to think about the most engaging experience, the most unique access, or something that’s sure to go viral and then work from there,” Macmillan said.

“Crazy is guaranteed by scarcity,” he added.

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