Hundreds of artists, world-class brands, soccer and basketball teams, and even celebrities like singers have released their own Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as collectibles. The boom around these tokens is well known to many people at the moment. But, beyond being mere “souvenirs”, NFTs also have some convenient alternative use cases.
In the not-so-distant future, we could see all of these NFTs uses as something common, besides the artwork involved. Let’s check some of them ahead.
NFTs use case #1: tokenization of everything
NFTs can easily be the digital representation of something (anything) from the physical world. For example, those shoes that your favorite brand has just launched. You could purchase a pair that would come with its NFT, which can be used as a certificate of authenticity, a way to show off your cool new shoes, or even be able to use that same pair in a game, VR experience, or the Metaverse.
We have already seen similar things depicted in ideas or stories. An obvious example appears in the movie (and book) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Most of this movie takes place in a virtual reality video game in which its protagonist gets to buy a suit within the game itself, with the virtual money. That suit arrives at his home addressAn address is a blockchain equivalent to a bank account number in the traditional financial system, or an email address.... More in the real world.
Indeed, Andrew Steinwold, Associate Manager at Sfermion (an NFT investment firm), thinks that, at some point, people will want NFTs from their wine, baseball cards, watches, cars (you name it), and “that’s the way the world is going to go.”
Right now, there are companies dedicated to making it possible for NFTs to have their physical counterpart or vice versa. Such is the case of Americana Technologies, a startup that created the “NFTA Universal Chip”: a mechanism used to connect a physical object to a blockchain.
Since we mentioned video games earlier, about the case of your cool shoes from your favorite brand, NFTs are also revolutionizing this industry in several ways. And, of course, this one is probably one of the most known NFTs use cases.
Play-to-Earn (P2E) games like Axie Infinity are proof of the possibilities and success that could bring the NFT integration. These models directly focused on collectibles or simply including valuable or useful objects for the character are a new way to attract and preserve users while creating a whole economy.
NFTs can add value to any object, land, or character inside the video game. Besides, they can eliminate the use of intermediaries for trading and provide the users with real investment to preserve for the future.
Events and ticket sales
Tickets for concerts, exhibitions, music festivals, and even bus or parking vouchers could all be NFTs. Imagine that you go to a photo exhibition and, instead of a paper ticket, you buy the proper NFT online. With it, you’ll have access to everything you have purchased and it’s probably designed with a nice (and collectible) image with the theme of the exhibition.
Another clear example: imagine that you go to a music festival and, in addition to validating your pass for that day, the NFT gives you access to some drinks and food. You won’t need a lot of tickets for everything, only your unique NFT linked to your identity. Similarly, if it were a concert by some world-famous artist, it could serve as a souvenir, and in a few years that NFT ticket could be worth thousands of dollars to collectors.
The possibilities are numerous for users. Additionally, the producers of these events would also save money on paper and verification methods, and they’d be collaborating with the environment. This is a nice and practical NFTs use case.
Identity and medical records
Official identity verification, data security, medical records, and other private documents could be safeguarded with NFTs. Being inside an encrypted chain, this data would be definitively and precisely validated.
An NFT use case around this would be a birth certificate. Health centers could issue an NFT, which is the birth certificate itself, for each child born. This would be a faster and greener alternative to all the usual paperwork. It could quickly create an identity that would be registered in a dedicated blockchainBlockchain is a type of database storing an immutable set of data, verifiable to anyone with access to it —through... and be easily verifiable.
Besides, by using this technology not only births could be registered, but also all the medical data of a patient. There have already been cases where companies, hospitals, and health system organizations have explored the use of a blockchain in this regard, and also concerning medicine supply chains.
Birth certificates as NFTs constitute a form of identity verification too, and they could evolve into identity cards later. They would be “utility tokens” as proof of existence, non-transferable and non-tradable; unlike collectible NFTs that can be revalued and sold.
Intellectual property and authenticity
Conserving and verifying private data in the long term isn’t an easy task. This can include registering an original product or patent, protecting copyrights, preventing piracy, or even processing valuable information about world events. In these cases, blockchains are good tools and NFTs are the keys.
These tokens can not only ensure that the copyright of a picture or song is awarded to its owner (for example), but they can also enhance the relationship of the artist with his audience in a direct and non-intermediary way. So, they’re offering more than just the product itself. Good use of this still lies in the artworks: every time they’re sold on marketplaces, a percentage of it goes automatically to the author(s).
Likewise, we can see the recent case of Shanghai residents. During the COVID-19 confinement, they decided that some NFTs would be the best way to preserve photos, videos, artworks, and other memories and information about the unprecedented situation they were experiencing. All of it to prevent their disappearance due to the governmental censorship.
Now, what seems clear is that alternative use cases for NFTs are on the rise. In the upcoming years, we’ll see how they’re further developed and applied in different fields and industries just as happened with the Internet and the digital age.
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