The conversation around NFTs continues to evolve. These novel assets first made their mark on the world in the form of fun, colorful (and, let's be honest, sometimes kinda ugly) speculative digital pieces of art. But fads fade and bubbles burst. Lately, the focus has been on giving utility to NFTs. Speculation is not a long-term play, but functionality is. But what does that utility look like? At Chainstarters, we're helping brands easily deploy their NFT collections and shaping the future around the next generation of customer engagement.
Finding the best solutions is critical when building software. Adding to a tech stack can either make life much easier or infinitely more difficult. (Guess which one we prefer?) Chainstarters wants to take web3 mainstream, starting with its easy-to-use NFT solutions. So when we were building our platform, we wanted to incorporate tech that would allow our product to perform and provide users with a great experience. And that's why we chose to partner with Alchemy.
Welp, it's time to address the elephant in the room.
You probably know that 2022 has seen a reckoning in markets across the board. Almost no one has been spared. And even if you don't keep a close eye on the news, you are likely feeling the pain at the pump or any time you go to purchase something. Inflation hit a 40-year high in March, and average gas prices hit a new milestone of $5 per gallon in the U.S. Companies like Coinbase – once the heavyweight of the new tech era – are now incurring massive layoffs. In short, it's not a pretty picture.
The hospitality industry took a huge hit during the pandemic. Traveling was not an option for most; and for those that had to, it was scary for quite some time. But the industry is coming back in a big way. It's officially the summer travel season, and this is the first time since 2019 that most of us feel safe to get out of town. Memorial Day numbers reflected that, as more than 39 million people got away for the long weekend.
The hotel experience has been forever altered, and now is the right time for hotels, resorts and rentals to make use of NFTs to engage their guests and encourage more business. But before we get into the details, let's take a step back. Why should the hospitality industry care about NFTs? What do JPEGs have to do with hotels and travel? Remember, NFT 2.0 is about utility and engagement. They are the newest marketing tool; it just so happens that they use technology that currently feels a little complicated. (Once upon a time, we all felt that way about email, too. And now we cannot live without it!)
Sports fans are passionate. And without them, sports would not be the thriving, exciting industry that it is. Teams thrive on the energy of the people cheering – and sometimes jeering – them on. If you spot someone wearing a jersey of your favorite team, there is an unspoken bond. See a stranger wearing a baseball cap from a rival? You might wish you could say a few choice words to them.
The sports industry is undoubtedly a valuable one, estimated to be worth in excess of $80 billion this year in North America alone. And we’ve said this before, but we’ve come a long way from the pandemic. People want to engage with the real world again. And that means heading out to games in person, eating hot dogs in the stands, cheering from the sidelines, and being around other excited spectators.
Chainstarters sees a big future for NFTs and how they can be leveraged by brands. One of the biggest areas of opportunity for “NFT 2.0” is in the retail space – especially for brands that sell high-end luxury items.
Imagine going into a store, buying a new handbag and minting an NFT that is tied to the physical item you just purchased – right then and there. That NFT serves as proof of authenticity for the item and is something you can show to your friends. If the brand has a presence in the metaverse, it may also grant access and unlock special offers within.
If you have any doubt that NFTs are becoming more mainstream, one of the biggest companies in the world is out to prove you wrong. Brands that want to stay relevant will soon need an NFT strategy, and we are already seeing how some notable players are embracing this.
Growing a brand in a highly competitive market is a daunting task that comes with many challenges. How to acquire new customers without breaking the bank? How to further engage existing customers efficiently? At the same time, consumers are demanding fresh, customized ways to interact with brands that create healthy, emotional engagement and drive value.
Everyone is familiar with email marketing campaigns, and we all experience how fiercely companies compete with each other for consumers’ attention – and dollars – by bombarding our inboxes several times each week, if not every day. While still effective, this strategy is a bit played out. Our social media feeds are also loaded with ads and promotional posts, begging us to like, click, and shop for a quick dopamine hit when we tap “Buy Now.” That rush quickly fades, and then we’re back to scrolling. Digital engagement does not often lead to real-world fulfillment.
You’ve probably heard of Bored Apes and CryptoPunks and know them to be weird – and sometimes ugly – images that have been trading for a lot of money. These JPEGs are not just digital pictures, but NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. NFTs are just one of the many assets in this new world of web3 that leverage blockchain technology.
To put it simply, blockchain is digital information on a public network. The unique nature of an NFT is that it has verified credentials associated with its owner, which is why a CryptoPunk can sell for millions of dollars even though someone else can simply copy and paste the image. It’s the difference between buying an original Van Gogh versus a print of one of his masterpieces.
But NFTs as JPEGs that sell for a lot of money are what we refer to as “NFT 1.0.” It’s an entry-level use of blockchain, and even though it has generated wealth for early adopters – and headlines – it’s perhaps the least productive use of blockchain.