It wasn’t long ago that the word ‘fungibility’ was but an obscure term understood only by economists and asset and commodity traders. Fewer even know that this peculiar word derives from the Latin verb fungi, meaning ‘to perform.’ From these arcane origins, the word is everywhere today, thanks to the meteoric rise to popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), those little nuggets that can turn anything (anything) into rather expensive digital wonders.
Now, we have recently published a series of articles discussing the more mainstream use cases for NFTs. We have talked about how NFTs can make hotels hit hard by the pandemic return to profitability, for example. And we’ve also discussed the usability of NFTs in the real estate industry. We even brought you a piece about the nascent relationship between NFTs and the travel sector. All these are perfectly good use cases. Normal, one might say. But today, we’ve got something more special in store for you, our loyal reader. Today, we’re stepping beyond the boundaries of normality and cast light on some of the most unusual use cases for NFTs out there. So buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
From racehorses to virtual sushi: a dizzying NFT panoply
Much like the Land of Oz, anything is possible in NFT territory. One can turn almost anything into an NFT, and that’s what makes it so appealing. The liberation of one’s mind, the transformation of an idea into a tangible thing that might -just might- make a tidy sum, and turn the author into an overnight sensation.
It doesn’t always work out that way, of course. Most times, NFTs do sell by moderate amounts, if at all. But the peculiarity of these digital enablers of dreams is that they can be used for such an eclectic array of use cases. Today, we kick off a new series, “Top 5 Most Interesting NFT Use Cases”, which focuses on, let’s say, some rather uncharacteristic aspects of the NFT repertoire.
The confluence of NFTs and enology
Wine is one of the most common alcoholic drinks consumed in the world. In 2020 for example, wine lovers drank 234m hectoliters of the stuff. Wine has, for centuries, been associated with bohemian, artsy types, particularly in Europe. (Vincent van Gogh regularly drank wine at various bars around Montmartre in Paris, for example. One of van Gogh’s most famous paintings, The Red Vineyard, is the artist’s only known painting ever sold during his lifetime.) So it is hardly surprising that wine has found its way into the NFT world.
Wineries have been using blockchain technology for some time, to determine the provenance and exact chemicals that were used in the vinification process. But NFTs have now opened brand new avenues for wineries to promote and sell their products. A Spanish winery, Maquina y Tabla, recently released a barrel of their 2020 vintage as NFT. Each bottle sold from this particular barrel was sold as an NFT. The entire barrel sold in less than 2 weeks. Elsewhere, customers who purchase bottles of wine from Argentinian winery OpenVino can scan a code, fill a short questionnaire, and receive an NFT linked to the company’s share scheme. OpenVino customers effectively become part-owners.
In short, NFTs enable innovation and a novel way to do business. Through the use of digital assets, vintners can broaden their venture and attract a far larger, tech-savvy audience into the somewhat niche world of wine making, with all the positive business implications that this raises.
When NFTs are NSFW
At its peak, ‘men’s lifestyle’ magazine Playboy sold around 5.6m copies. Playboy’s heyday has long since passed, however, as that figure dates back to 1975. (As of 2018, Playboy averaged around 200,000 copies sold worldwide.) The steep decline of paper-based adult material coincided with the rise of technology, particularly smartphones and the internet. People could simply go online to access whatever content they wished.
The adult industry is no stranger to technology. This sector is, in fact, a major driver for innovation. The internet and the porn industry were a match made in heaven. Adult content creators were instrumental in the development and introduction of streaming video, subscription models, pop-up ads, and online credit card transactions, for example. There’s even an apocryphal tale that says that broadband connectivity was specifically developed to allow faster and always-on connection to stream and download this type of content faster. Probably not true, but this speaks volumes of the happy and synergistic relationship between the adult industry and technological development.
Adult entertainers and content creators are now continuing this long tradition of technological exploration of people’s desires thanks to NFTs. A recently opened Ethereum-based platform, Nafsty, offers a marketplace for a growing community of creators to sell and trade their material, in NFT form. Nafsty is a joint venture co-founded by some sex workers who are now free to create whatever (legal) content they want, publish it, and remain in control of it.
The appeal of NFTs is incomprehensible to some, and obvious to others. Whether you’re on the fence about this, or deep into the fascinating world of NFT creation and trading, the stories and facts surrounding NFTs are quite striking.
Today, we discussed how two wildly disparate industries, wine and adult, can find new revenues and business models thanks to these digital assets. In the next instalment of this series, we’ll discuss race horses and sushi.
Can’t get any more varied than that, can it?