Can you use NFTs in the real world? That sounds weird, right? As all the blockchain appliances for NFTs seem to work online only. But the first cases for NFT as a real world instrument are already emerging.
NFTs (non fungible tokens) started as weird pictures tokenized at a enormously high prices. Later they have evolved to become basically any digital objects in metaverse games for entertaining kids who are already earning more than you.
While most of the NFTs are based on Ethereum blockchain, its founder Vitalik Buterin is not happy. According to him NFT concept isn’t going the proper way. Buterin thinks NFTs are only making rich people even more rich. And as such it doesn’t serve the crypto community or society in general.
Moreover, according to recent Nature research, only 10% of traders make up to 85% of all NFT-transactions. So because of that, you can’t treat NFTs as a new financial instrument for a wide mass of consumers.
Still there is a ray of hope.
And it points to a place nobody even thought of.
The majority of existing NFT platforms can be used in a pure digital form only. But that doesn’t mean that there are no promising NFT projects for real world usage.
What is NFT
NFT means non-fungible token.
“Non-fungible” more or less means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. Because it’s recorded on a blockchain and can’t be easily erased or rewritten.
Any cryptocurrency token is actually fungible — you can trade one Bitcoin for another, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. But a non-fungible token is unique.
Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.
Yes, it would be wrong to say Ethereum is a cryptocurrency. There is a token ETH which is a cryptocurrency in fact. But the Ethereum blockchain has become a foundation for many other interesting things, first of all for DeFi solutions, smart contracts and NFTs.
NFT is catching up with the rise of the Metaverse. In virtual worlds non-fungible tokens are the only way to claim property rights for land, art etc.
Now let’s see how could NFT be used in the real world.
NFT smart contracts
Traditional blockchain smart contracts are already being used in different business spheres.
The technology gives contract-parties proofs of ownership or accomplishment of something. And these proofs are securely stored on the blockchain.
When parties fulfill the financial and work conditions, the blockchain automatically registers it like a done contract. So that no side can be deceived.
The NFT smart contract can store the transaction details about digital intellectual properties within the blockchain. In the end, you will get stored transparent information about the legitimate transaction between two parties.
The technology can be useful in the all-media industry where creators are struggling to sell their content and got royalties fairly. That could be one of the most prominent usages of NFT in the real world.
NFT concert and sports tickets
That simple idea is already implemented in different sports and art organizations.
The technology is about proving that something in fact belongs to somebody.
For example, if you buy a digital ticket to an event it will be securely stored in the blockchain and no one can steal or counterfeit it. Your right of ownership is sealed by the blockchain. And the image of that ticket will be a valid NFT at the same time.
Last summer Ukrainian football club Dynamo Kyiv was about to become the first in the world to sell NFT-tickets for its games.
And the US National Football League did something similar for the last Super Bowl this year by gifting free NFTs as “digital keepsake” versions of their actual tickets. Virtual NFT for the real world tickets, how cool is that?
These NFT-tickets contained digital info about the attendee’s unique section, row, and seat. Interestingly though that such tickets could become kind of collectibles and rise in value over time.
NFT passports in the real world
If it is possible to make a valid and effectively secure NFT ticket another idea immediately comes to mind. Why don’t we make NFT identity documents? That would be a really cool NFT appliance in the real world.
Some say this idea could put an end to the identity theft problem and bring travel security to the next level.
Imagine the police and airport staff being able to easily verify your NFT documentation on the blockchain.
But it’s also frightening as blockchain still has some security issues.
Surely it will be way more secure than traditional databases. But it can take years for creating a unified blockchain system for documentation even within one country.
Albeit QR-code with your NFT passport is the thing you surely would like to possess.
NFT health records
Actually, the same thing can be done with your medical cards and health history.
Given the fact that your health records can be even more vulnerable than some documents, it’s quite important to store this data securely and without third-party access.
NFT could become basic technology for future COVID-19 vaccine passports. That’s a strikingly simple way to apply NFT in the real world.
Such a project already exists. Last summer San Marino government passed legislation to create vaccine passports for its citizens. The digital tokens deployed on QR codes can verify their owner’s vaccination status. And all this works with a blockchain ledger.
NFT for real estate in the real world
You must have heard about NFTs sold as a virtual estate in metaverses like Decentraland. Some virtual land squares there can be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The virtual real estate ownership is recorded on a decentralized ledger through an NFT.
The same idea can transfer NFT to the real world. Into the real estate market.
There are already some projects undergoing with NFTs as an efficient way to check titles and verify the ownership history of the property.
But again, there are some cybersecurity concerns. Like if the property’s NFT owner would lose his private key to an asset on blockchain – how can he be protected from losing rights on his property?
These are the things to think about for blockchain developers.