Monkey designations (“The Bored Monkeys”), the line in the first tweet ever posted, or the animation of a naked Donald Trump in the grass, here are some of the NFTs that have each sold for millions of dollars since the beginning of 2021, under the eyes of a broad public that is both fascinated and thoughtful. “Non-fungible tokens” or “non-fungible tokens”, unique and tamper-proof digital objects, have opened up a new fundraising market where tens of billions of dollars have flowed in.
However, “NFTs are very rudimentary at the moment” , explains Sandy Khaund, founder of startup Credenza. In addition to the art world, “they do not have many features, usability”. “Most of them are monkeys or something like that which is useless” Juan Otero, general manager of Travala, an online travel site abounds, referring to the famous “Bored Apes”.
Starbucks, which will soon launch its own NFTs, sees it more as one “programmable asset, which can also be a pass”. Owning a non-fungible token in the colors of the coffee giant will open access to “unique benefits” as well as one ” Community “ , a new vision for a loyalty program, based on blockchain. This technology, on which cryptocurrencies and NFTs are based, makes it possible to use the same module for different applications.
On the institutional side, the small Republic of San Marino in the heart of Italy launched in July 2021 a coronavirus vaccine passport, behind which hid an NFT. While the European digital Covid certificate was designed for the EU, this passport was intended to be verified everywhere without requiring a dedicated mobile application.
Credenza, for its part, is in discussions with sports teams and leagues to introduce a vision of the NFT version of the Swiss Army knife, adapted for new uses. NFTs and blockchain are “available in multiple universes, whether you want to watch an NBA game in the hall or a concert in the meta-verse” illustrates Sandy Khaund, referring to this digital universe where one can lead a virtual life, as in video games Roblox or Minecraft.
Jenn McMillen, from the marketing company Incendio, also mentions the example of the indie rock band Kings of Leon. As part of the NFT version of his ‘When You See Yourself’ album, he released eight ‘Golden Tickets’, each guaranteeing four seats in the front row on all of the band’s future tours. “If you are a brand” explains Jenn McMillen, “Think of the most desirable experiences, the most exclusive access or something that will definitely go viral, and wrap it in an NFT with full access. It will be insanity guaranteed thanks to rarity.”
Among the most successful examples is the Travala tourism booking platform, which claims more than 300,000 monthly active users. In January 2022, the site, which already accepted cryptocurrency payments, launched the Travel Tiger loyalty program. Apparently, each of the thousands of NFTs distributed to existing customers of the platform is a digital drawing of a tiger reminiscent of “Bored Apes”.
But it is associated with a range of privileges, from access to exclusive events, in the real world and the meta-verse, to reductions or loyalty points. With Travel Tigers, Travala’s ambition is not to generate revenue, but to create loyalty. “It’s about retaining these users that they continue to use the platform” according to Juan Otero.
Despite the attention it creates, “It will probably take two or three years” before NFTs “reach out to the general public and traditional companies” , admits the co-founder of Travala. But “when will the next wave come” he announces together with metaverset and Web3 – a new decentralized version of the Internet -, “I think it will be unprecedented”.