Supreet Raju is the Co-Founder of OneRare. Supreet is responsible for the complete immersive world of Food-NFTs. She further added to her portfolio by specialising in creating interactive spaces and increasing engagement through her designs. This led to her becoming an ace in the industry and inspired her to teach design. She has a rich experience as a visiting faculty of close to 7 years and also possessed relevant skills as a design educator.
In these digital times, most of us are just getting our heads around the ways of the blockchain, and the world of non-fungible tokens—or, what we commonly refer to as NFTs.
NFTs are assets that have been digitised and tokenised. They are stored and can be traded, on the digital ledger technology (DLT) called the blockchain. However, since they are one-of-a-kind, each bearing the owner’s virtual signature, NFTs cannot be exchanged. At present, they are being used to buy and sell digital products like art and music, but there are plenty of scenarios in which they can be used.
Indeed, the use of NFTs is incredibly important for the future because they are going to affect almost every part of our lives, as more people transition to Web 3.0 and, further along, to the Metaverse. Still, to assure the doubters, it is important to point out that NFTs come with assurances of authenticity, transparency and traceability. There is substance to the hype.
NFTs are not meant to confuse or intimidate, and are not aimed at a selective audience but at everyone. All of us will one day find some use in NFTs. And actually, they are very accessible; they will likely become as commonplace as, say, Paytm or any other digital wallet is today.
NFTs are the future but they are also the ‘now’. So, here is a little peek into the new ground broken—and what tomorrow might look like:
According to Deloitte Global, NFTs for sports media will generate in excess of US$2 billion in transactions this year, more than twice the figure in 2021. In fact, NFTs promise to revolutionise the way people experience sport.
NFTs in sports enable teams and athletes to ramp up their engagement with fans (and vice-versa), while offering fans extra opportunities to demonstrate loyalty to their clubs. For example, digital tokens and collectibles, in the form of player cards, video clips of special sporting moments converted into NFTs, and memorabilia (autographs and photographs), are ways for clubs to reach out to a younger and more digitally savvy fanbase.
For example, there’s the wildly successful NBA Top Shots, which the National Basketball Association in the US launched with Dapper Labs, a blockchain outfit. NBA Top Shots is like an online marketplace where fans can buy video clips from or highlights of any number of NBA games. Sorare, a popular international fantasy football game, has introduced “legend NFTs”, cards featuring icons of the sport that can be traded. And individual athletes like quarterback Tom Brady, of American Football fame, are issuing NFT platforms, where they can create NFTs of digital collectibles and real-life moments as a way of connecting with their fans.
Crucially, NFTs translate into an expanded revenue stream, and thus more funds for growth.
While application of NFTs in the travel space hasn’t yet reached the level of interest or possibilities as seen in other domains, people have already undertaken journeys—rather, their virtual avatars have—in the Metaverse, sitting at home during the pandemic.
Fantasy tours aside, there is plenty of scope for NFTs to be used in the travel and leisure segment. For instance, ‘frequent traveller’ rewards could be made available in the form of NFTs, as part of, say, a loyalty programme. Airline loyalty is another use case. At United Airlines, flyers can earn NFT collectibles as VIP rewards, while airBaltic offers NFT art as a digital collectible (recently, online travel major MakeMyTrip also launched limited-edition NFTs, digital artworks of India’s most popular travel destinations).
Meanwhile, in San Marino, the authorities are issuing NFT vaccine passports powered by blockchain technology. In fact, there may in the future no longer be any requirement for physical passports, which could turn into non-fungible tokens—an NFT would be all that you’ll need to fly.
NFTs can even show proof of travel, that you had visited a particular place at a point in time, with every experience of that trip logged on the blockchain—like a passport but more ‘cooler’ to show off to friends and family.
Meanwhile, in the hospitality industry, players big and small can utilise NFTs as a way to publicise and grow their business, allowing for faster as well as increased bookings—boutique hotels and niche chains can especially benefit here. Further, by keeping a record of its visitors on the blockchain, hotels can issue NFTs as loyalty badges for customers who keep on returning year after year. And finally, to reduce the use of plastic, card keys can be replaced with NFTs, which can also allow travellers access to every facility at the hotel.
Not only restaurants but also celebrity chefs are turning to NFTs to grow their brands and engage with and attract more customers. A food NFT can be an image, a video or any other digital content stored on the blockchain. It opens up a whole new world for each player in the food ecosystem, from chefs and restaurateurs to foodies and bloggers.
Indian startup, OneRare has built a foodverse—where dishes are available in the form of NFTs (which can then be used to play games), and the tokens can be swapped for meals—and a Metaverse, where top chefs can show off their signature creations. Here, the blockchain can be seen as a round-the-world gastronomical trip. These cuisines and dishes will remain on the blockchain as NFTs, a document of the ingenuity of chefs, and accessible to anyone who wants to learn about other culinary traditions.
Fast-food biggies like McDonald’s, Papa John’s and Taco Bell have issued virtual tokens that riff on their favourite offerings, allowing customers the chance to show some more love for their preferred brand. Even makers of beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are experimenting with NFTs (among them Starbucks and Budweiser).
The idea that non-fungible tokens can be representations of physical properties, which can then be bought and sold, might seem crazy but it’s one that has the potential to transform the real-estate industry.
For example, transfer of ownership of property, a time-consuming and bureaucratic procedure at the best of times, can be done within a matter of minutes if that property or parcel of real estate is an NFT. Here, security is not an issue because the technology that drives blockchain and NFTs shields both buyer and seller from any breach of data or security.
Of course, all this can only happen once an NFT has been ‘minted’; such an NFT would incorporate all data, legal and otherwise, relating to the property. This ‘mint’ is then uploaded onto an NFT marketplace, where the tokens can be safely bought and sold. Once in the marketplace, the NFT has all the required paperwork and disclosures to be accepted as a lawful authority for showing proof of ownership.
These, then, are just four among the many areas that are made for non-fungible tokens. What is unarguable is that NFTs will become a routine part of our lives, and change the way we travel or invest in property, the way we think about food or interact with our favourite sports and athletes—and many other real-life applications that are bound to benefit from the convenience offered by these digital tokens. Thousands have already bought, owned and traded in NFTs, confirming their security, transparency and reliability—and proving that Web3 is here to stay.