Written by George Agathangelou

Most people, even brands involved in NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have been using the technology to create added revenue streams by selling their NFTs to the public, with or without a long-term vision of engaging with their communities.

“If web2 brands entered the NFT or “Metaverse” space focused on running events, engaging community, genuinely finding free and fun ways to organically participate they would be WILDLY more successful. The problem is most if not all come in and try sell-sell-sell.”

It comes as no surprise that we have been swamped with requests and questions relating to how NFTs can be used for brand marketing purposes. In this blog post, we will explore all the known use cases of NFTs, whether successful or not and provide you with real-life examples, highlighting the importance of NFTs in allowing for proof of ownership in the real world, the principle of scarcity being applied in the digital world and the value for brands!

Use Case 1 — Digital Art

Deliberating that digital files are easy to copy, an artist can mint an NFT representing a piece of art, thereby giving the customer sufficient evidence that the NFT based art file is the most effective one which exists. This level of rarity and uniqueness of a digital record is possible thanks to blockchain’s immutability. Furthermore, NFTs enable artists to get a cut on the secondary sale of their virtual art as royalties can be programmed into the NFT smart contract, supplying a percentage of the sale, back to the original artist. Many celebrities have pioneered at selling digital art, including Snoop Dogg, Lindsay Lohan, and John Cleese.

Sales of NFTs in the first half of 2021 rose by more than $2bn (£1.47bn). This trend prompted Christie’s and Sotheby’s to host their own NFT auctions, driving contemporary artwork income to an all-time high. However, only a tiny share of the proceeds of art NFTs have ended up with the galleries, while on the other hand, the auction houses traditionally take a larger percentage of the artwork market profits. (Source: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/nov/06/how-nfts-non-fungible-tokens-are-shaking-up-the-art-world)

Examples:

  • Open Marketplaces: OpenSea, Rarible, Makersplace, LooksRare
  • Traditional Auction House: Christie’s Encrypted Sotheby’s Metaverse
  • Curated Marketplaces: KO, Super Rare, Foundation, CoinbaseNFT, Nifty Gateway
  • NFT Gallery: jpg.space, Showtime

Use Case 2 — Gaming

NFTs can be used to issue non-duplicable in-game objects allowing game enthusiasts to have an unprecedented form of ownership. “Play-to-earn” games often require players to buy items with cryptocurrency in order to play the game and collect unique, in-game items. Those items may then increase in value and be sold to other players, depending on their demand. It is common for players to also have input and vote on the game’s development as their monetary stake in it increases the game’s overall value. (Source: https://www.pcgamer.com/ea-calls-nft-and-blockchain-games-the-future-of-our-industry/)

Examples:

  • Games: Axie Infinity, Illuvium, Neotokyo, Zed. Run, Cryptomanga, Sorare
  • Game Items: Treasure DAO, The Workshop, Loot
  • Virtual Land: Decentraland, Sandbox

Use Case 3 — Trade Finance

NFTs could be used to solve the problem of financing long supply chains. There is a need for the end buyer to put in place a financing platform right along the supply chain, including all the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). This is currently possible; however, this involves a mass of separate contracts. The solution is to tokenize the payment guarantee of the ultimate buyer in the form of an NFT and create a financial mechanism — potentially via a spread coded into the NFT smart contract — to incentivize suppliers to pass the NFT on to their own suppliers right along the supply chain, posits Jean-Baptiste Gaudemet, senior vice-president of data and analytics at treasury software provider Kyriba. He states that “The successful introduction of NFTs throughout the supply chain would give us, and companies like us, the opportunity to extend that support from the biggest companies down to SMEs where the benefits are most needed and would be most apparent”. (Source: https://www.kyriba.com/blog/deep-tier-finance-through-nfts-is-the-key-to-solving-supply-chain-challenges/)

Use Case 4 — Fashion & Luxury Goods

Digital fashion is a reality. Although traditional fashion is much more useful to society, luxury fashion designers are entering the exclusive world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies. NFTs enable luxury brands to create invaluable, one-of-a-kind experiences for customers, helping increase brand recognition, engagement and sales. For fashion brands, NFT is primarily a connection with the next generation of buyers, generation Z. Burberry and Louis Vuitton were among the first brands to enter the gaming NFT space, demonstrating that the digital expansion of the fashion industry can scale indefinitely.

For brands like Rebecca Minkoff, NFTs offer a unique way of experimenting with avatars, developing brand engagement with a younger generation and committing to charities close to the brand, like The Female Founder Collective.

Nikeland recently opened on the Roblox platform, where people can try on a number of high-end Nike products and play games. Last month, In February 2022, Nike filed seven trademark applications related to the metaverse, indicating its intention to manufacture and sell branded virtual shoes and clothing.

Examples:

  • Dematerialized
  • Nike/RTFKT

Use Case 5 — Music & Entertainment

NFTs enable fans and artists to interact meaningfully, allow fans to show their commitment and ensure that artists can offer unique experiences, such as one-on-one live broadcasts or exclusive events. The important thing here is that artists find a way to strengthen the connection with their fans. Among other benefits, fans are willing to invest in NFT independent artists, as all funds go directly to the creators. Unlike the traditional music scene, where ticket sales benefit venues, publishers and record labels, NFTs provide new opportunities to directly support favorite artists and help them stay independent.

NFTs also provide additional benefits for fans of certain artists. For example, artists provide NFT owners with exclusive discounts and events and tickets to VIP sections.

The NFT is the first technology to develop autographs. Now fans can invest in a unique work of art created by a band or singer such as Taylor Swift and Camila Cabello. While paper autographs can fade over time, leaving you with nothing, your NFT will never fade, and this is something you can pass on to your children and share your favorite musical experiences.

Examples:

  • Royal.io
  • Autograph.io

Use Case 6 — Supply Logistics

As more and more participants in the global logistics market are puzzled by increasing the transparency and reliability of supply chains, leading IT companies are promoting the idea of using blockchain technology for these purposes. The transparency of the supply chain through the use of blockchain benefits end consumers, by giving them the ability to know that the products are safe, fresh, free of GMOs and unwanted additives. For example, in order to ensure that the purchased tuna was not poached, British startup Provenance began to use blockchain in order to protect itself from such accusations. The company uses blockchain technology to track the movement of tuna, controlling its capture and delivery.

NFT’s nature as unique items, adds an added benefit to blockchain technology as an NFT is one of the best examples how the value of the product can be transferred using blockchain technology and its traceability allows one to follow who owns what at any given time.

Examples:

Use Case 7 — Domain Name Ownership

“The NFT market is experiencing unprecedented growth, and is drawing more attention to the space,” said Brad Kam, co-founder of Unstoppable Domains. “While most people assume NFTs are digital art, the reality is there are a substantial number of NFT use cases that don’t center around art — like domain names. Domain name NFTs, much like .com names can act as homes for decentralized websites, in addition to replacing complex cryptocurrency wallet addresses with a human-readable name. The surge in NFT excitement supports the idea that ownership — whether physical or digital — is incredibly valuable. Unstoppable Domains aims to put true, verifiable ownership in the hands of users with domain name NFTs.”

Shortly speaking, with blockchain domain systems, owners can control their domains using private keys. Blockchain domain NFTs enable easy trading as well as customizable domain names. The ICANN controls the standard domain name service, which raises concerns about censorship and security. Blockchain domain names are recorded permanently in a public registry and cannot be dropped or altered by any third party.

Examples:

  • NFT domains
  • Unstoppable Domains

Use Case 8 — Real Estate

In the real estate industry, physical land or property can be represented on a blockchain as an NFT. This means that the digital token standing for a piece of land can have all sorts of attributes such as location, price, and measurements. Thanks to blockchain, it would be impossible for malicious actors to tamper with land ownership and other physical assets associated with the land. (Source: https://tokenizedhq.com/nft-real-estate/)

TechCrunch Founder, Michael Arrington’s Kyiv Apartment sold in world’s first NFT Real Estate Auction! (Source: https://propy.com/browse/propy-nft/)

Use Case 9 — Identity Management

NFTs can prove significantly useful when it comes to personal identity management. They have unique information stored in their tokens. These tokens can be used for documenting degrees, certificates, medical records, and qualifications. The certification can be issued over the blockchain as an NFT, which can be traced back to the owner.

It is possible that in the near future you will have to verify your online identity with an NFT attached to an online license just to be allowed to surf the web, in the same way, you currently need a government-issued driver’s license to drive a car. This may sound far-fetched, but countries like China have been trying to cut online anonymity for years, with limited success, by requiring real-name verification to sign in to web browsers and post comments — not to mention the implementation of their all-encompassing Social Credit System, which has already taken effect. Unfortunately, in the Western part of the world, we are far from immune to the surveillance regimes being implemented across the world, but ours masquerade as social media and corporate advertising. The point is, whether you like it or not, your data is being collected but as a regular netizen, there is little you can do besides protect yourself with private browsers, VPNs, unplugging your Alexa, and always staying inside. From a privacy standpoint, NFTs could spell the end to online anonymity, but there are a fair number of benefits to having a completely verified network, including a reduction of fraud, crime, and even nasty comments. Not to mention, with proper Smart Contracts in place on your NFT-verified online identity, the blockchain would grant you full visibility into who has access to your data, where your data goes, and even allow you to get paid each time your personal data switches hands! (Source: https://medium.com/geekculture/nfts-unlock-a-new-form-of-digital-identity-7145aa7b48c9)

Use Case 10 — Ticketing Industry, Event Participation

Non-Fungible Tokens are also useful in the ticketing industry. NFTs on the blockchain can be used to stand for tickets in a sports event or a concert. This ensures that every attendee has original access, and any ticket reproduction is tracked and prevented.

NFT Kred is an initiative that develops NFT tickets for events, celebrities, and Enterprise Institutions. (Source: https://www.nft.kred/events )

Kings of Leon’s NFT drops serve as a sign of NFTs’ potential to disrupt the world of events and entertainment as we know it. Imagine owning front-row tickets to all their concerts for the rest of your life. (Source: https://www.theeventcompany.com/news/the-potential-of-nfts-in-the-events-industry)

Use Case 11 — Academic Credentials

Student certificates as NFTs would gradually gain adoption as another method of verifying your academic achievements. We are immensely proud to have been the first platform in the world to issue academic credentials for the University of Nicosia. You can check the NFT credentials on OpenSea by following this link.

Use Case 12 — Fundraising Contribution

NFTs may be used to mark contributions for charity or fundraising. NFTs are created by the developers of a platform, and they are released in an event called a “drop.” A drop is like an initial coin offering (ICO) in that it is a way for a platform to raise money. However, instead of selling tokens, the developers are selling NFTs. The developers of the platform decide how many NFTs will be created and how many will be sold in the drop. Some NFTs are open for a specified period and others have a finite amount at an auction or fixed price. The NFTs are then sold to users in exchange for cryptocurrency, usually Ethereum based. The developers of the platform, artists and any other parties can then use the funds raised in the drop.

One added important distinction between NFTs and other assets is the ability to earn from future sales. When creating an NFT, the creator can set a commission for all future sales of the work. This means that even NFTs that are sold for very little to start with, can create value for the creators in the future. (Source: https://www.wholewhale.com/tips/non-fungible-fundraising-nfts-for-good/)

Use Case 13 — Early Adopter Branding

NFTs are evidence of your cultural bona fides and take Proof of Passion to the next level. They provide the infrastructure, tools and economic incentives to turn every art form, media consumption and cultural behavior into a more transparent and verifiable status game. That is what happened when a little-known Chinese virtual sneaker brand called RTFKT designed an NFT sneaker for the Chinese New Year and put it up for auction. The sneakers sold for a whopping $28,000. (Source: https://jingdaily.com/rtfkt-nft-luxury-chinese-new-year/)

Use Case 14 — Political Causes

Not just for the artwork! NFTs are being used by political candidates to raise money and attract young supporters. (Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/artwork-nfts-political-candidates-raise-money-attract-young/story?id=82445596) (https://decrypt.co/94660/bored-ape-yacht-club-donates-1-million-ethereum-ukraine)

To date, Ukraine has raised more than $50 million worth in cryptocurrencies, according to data from Elliptic. The tens of thousands of donations included a $200,000 CryptoPunk NFT and a $5.8 million gift from Polkadot founder Gavin Wood. Donors have been sending crypto in the form of bitcoin, ether, and Polkadot, and even meme tokens like dogecoin and digital pieces of art known as NFTs. Moreover, Ukraine’s vice prime minister announced on Twitter the country would soon release NFTs to help raise funds for its defense against Russia’s invasion. In a tweet, Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also the country’s minister of digital transformation, said, “we will announce NFTs to support Ukrainian Armed Forces soon.”

Use Case 15 — Rewarding Brand Loyalty

As brands and creators look to reinforce loyalty, community behavior will be rewarded with NFTs. Did the member contribute content? NFT. Complete surveys? NFT. Make a purchase? NFT. Tokens are more liquid and bragworthy than traditional discount codes. Offering NFTs as a form of reward is already becoming common in the sports world, where athletes offer NFTs to their fans as a way of engagement.

“Coca-Cola is one of the most collectible brands in the world, and it has shared its rich heritage with consumers through simple moments of joy for decades,” said Selman Careaga, president of Global Coca-Cola Trademark. “We are excited to share our first NFTs with the metaverse, where new friendships are being forged in new ways in new worlds, and to support our longstanding friend and partner, Special Olympics International. Each NFT was created to celebrate elements that are core to the Coca-Cola brand, reinterpreted for a virtual world in new and exciting ways.” (Source: https://b2bchief.com/why-nfts-can-offer-marketing-opportunities-for-fmcg-brands-food-industry-comment/)

Use Case 16 — Sports Industry

Digitization of Signed Goods from Sportspersons. NBA Top Shot and Sorare, two of the most popular NFT start-ups, have raised more than $1 billion in funding and have made over $1 billion in sales between them so far. NBA Top Shot supplies short video moments of NBA’s top basketball players as NFT collectibles. Sorare, on the other hand, is a fantasy football platform and supplies tradable cards as NFTs. So far, $200 million worth of cards have been traded on the platform which has also partnered with over 180 football clubs worldwide, including top European clubs like Real Madrid.

Ethernity, a marketplace platform, had launched NFTs with popular Argentine footballer Lionel Messi under its ‘Messiverse’ collection in August this year. It ended up generating around $3.2 million in sales in an hour and was sold out. Platforms like Crypto.com, Mintable, Opensea and Raible have also been selling mostly digital art and videos of players from top sports like F1, football, tennis and more. Sports brands and leagues are now launching their own NFT marketplaces — UFC for Mixed Martial Arts NFTs, Candy Digital for baseball NFTs, NASCAR for stock car racing NFTs, among others. Another interesting platform is a digital horse racing platform called Zed Run which allows you to buy your own horses as NFTs and make them race. Fantasy sports platforms like RARIO (cricket) and RealFevr (football) have also jumped into the sports NFT wagon.

(Source: https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/business-news-sports-nfts-are-a-movement-not-just-a-meme/395871)

Use Case 17 — Governance

Digital Memorabilia of Marriages/Birth.

A couple from the USA discovered a non-trivial way to tie the knot. Instead of wedding rings, they used something more reliable — NFTs, which are tied to their blockchain accounts, writes The Verge. The wedding began as a traditional Jewish ceremony, but at some point, the newlyweds — both employees of the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase — went outside, took out their smartphones, activated their personal NFTs and exchanged their virtual rings.

Theoretically, wedding vows in this form will exist forever, and any Internet user can verify this on a specialized platform.

Use Case 18 — Restaurant Chains

Cordia Corp. headquartered in Reno, Nevada, runs virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens. They are commercial food preparation spaces without dining facilities. In essence, they function as online delivery and catering centers running through major delivery services such as UberEATS, Door Dash and others. The main benefit is that they bypass the need for costly construction in premium locations.

Another use case is the hotel company VCR Group. The company plans to open an exclusive indoor restaurant in New York called Flyfish Club. To get into it, customers will need to buy an NFT membership, according to Cointelegraph.

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