2021 was a remarkable year for a host of reasons, but it was a year like never before in terms of some of the latest advances in tech and digital assets. The last 12 months have brought the NFT to the forefront of many industries and into the mainstream.
The non-fungible token built on the blockchain has gone from being mainly known as proof of ownership of a unique digital image into something known as an asset. It’s no better demonstrated by the amount of money the industry is now worth, with $41 billion being spent on NFTs. The most notable sale of the year was the most expensive; a single piece of digital art was sold for $69 million created by Mike Winkleman, who goes by the artist name Beeple.
However, while the focus in the media has primarily been on the art side of the NFT, the blockchain-based assets have a reach far more profound than just being images, as they’re now utilized for a host of different applications.
Musicians have been using the NFT to distribute their music digitally, with exclusive sales for music lovers. Rock band Kings of Leon offered their fans a limited number of NFTs which not only allows early access to their latest album, but the most exclusive option on the list of purchasable digital products also offered access to all their gigs for life. Sport has been another industry that has taken the advent of the NFT to increase engagement with its biggest stakeholder, the fans. In particular, a host of soccer clubs across Europe have embraced the NFT via the introduction of fan tokens. These branded tokens in the colors of their favorite clubs give the purchaser not only a unique digital piece of memorabilia that shows off their love of their team but also access to VIP experiences. These include meet and greets and the chance to participate in polls that shape the direction their club goes on various matters. This extra value brings the organization and its supporters closer together, building a new layer of loyalty between brand and fan.
The NFT has already moved beyond the digital image, to being used for engagement in sport, and it all points to further developments. We’ve compiled a shortlist of what you could expect to see them used for in the not too distant future.
The Digital Twin
A digital twin is a digital copy of a physical object, and while that rightly raises a question of why you’d want an NFT of something you physically own. With the rise of counterfeit goods and collectibles worldwide, this would be a modern interpretation of the certificate of authenticity. The NFT would represent a transparent, publicly-accessible piece of proof of ownership, arguably changing the resale market for the better.
One of the disruptive spaces in NFTs is the introduction of artificial intelligence. iNFTs are NFTs that are given an AI personality, and they live on the blockchain. Aletha AI’s designers have already sold their first iNFt called ‘Alice’ for $500,000 and have since received over $15million in funding to pursue this further. These iNFTs will ‘live’ in their metaverse called Noah’s Ark, which will be filled with other iNFTs.
NFTs for ownership
With the increased sales of the NFTs and their value rising at such a rate, it could soon see them used as a tool for function and profit. With the sales of fan tokens in sport selling out within minutes of them being placed on sale, earning some clubs in the region of $2million, they could potentially be used as shares in these organizations. It would further extend the engagement, and the biggest group of stakeholders could be the most influential stakeholders too.
This all demonstrates the world of the NFT is changing by the minute, and as interest continues to grow, all signs point towards them being a large part of the future of AI, sport, music, and business for quite some time to come.