NFTs have entered the limelight in 2021 with a number of projects reaching multi-million dollar valuations and sales. But proponents of blockchain-based tokens say their true value goes beyond what super-rich collectors will pay for digital artwork. They have the potential to create entirely new classes of virtual assets as well as revolutionize existing markets for real-world physical goods.
The total value of NFTs sold last year was more than $14 billion, but that could look like a small change if global brands continue to enthusiastically embrace the technology, applying it to everything from clothing to luxury to $25,000 whiskey bottles.
Many NFT projects appearing today qualify as “utility NFTs”, meaning that they have utility or function beyond simply being a work of art or other digital data represented by a token on a blockchain. But before we start, just a brief warning – it is currently possible to invest money in many of these projects, but please don’t take their inclusion here as a suggestion which I think it would be a good idea to do so. I’m not a financial adviser and I picked them because I think the ideas behind them are interesting – not because I think they’ll go up in value.
So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest, most innovative, and weirdest NFT projects out there today!
The idea here is to use the sale of NFT to fund various real-world projects that will be of interest to coffee lovers – including a real-world cafe in New York and sustainability initiatives in the world of coffee culture. It will develop its own cafes that will be entered into recognition-seeking awards, and it will all be through the sale of character NFTs with names like Sherlock Foams and Boba Bao.
Distillers William Grant and Son, owners of the Glenfiddich whiskey brand, have sold 15 bottles of the ultra-rare 46-year-old whiskey for $18,000 apiece, each with its own NFT. The idea here is that NFT is used to track the provenance of bottles and their contents, which have been sold as investments to collectors. The bottles themselves are kept in the custody of the company and can only be exchanged when the buyer transfers ownership of the NFT back to them. This means that a future buyer will be reassured that they are getting a genuine item when they buy the NFT themselves. You can learn more about this from my conversation with Will Peacock of William Grant and Sons and BlockBar, the company that provided the tech solution.
Killroy by Kevin Smith was there
The filmmaker famous for cult hits including Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has said he will release his next film – a comedy horror – as a series of NFTs. Due for release later this year, the project will consist of 5,555 separate NFTs containing both the film itself and associated bonus and behind-the-scenes content. While exact details of the distribution model have not been announced, it has been hinted that owners will be able to use their NFTs to have some sort of input into how the universe established in the film will evolve. Plus, the owners will somehow own the rights to their own exclusive take on the movie’s main character – “Make your own movie, turn it into a cartoon, license it for lunchboxes!” Smith himself said so. Whatever that means, it’s likely to be interesting.
Fly fishing club
This one is billed as “the world’s first NFT restaurant” and aims to provide exclusive and unique dining experiences to owners of its NFTs via a real-world New York restaurant. Two different membership levels are available – Flyfish and Flyfish Omakase, with owners of the more expensive Omakase tokens giving access to an even more exclusive VIP area of the restaurant and its even more exclusive dishes. These tokens are currently offered for 4, 25 ETH – just over $13,000 at today’s prices at the time of writing.
The American music festival offers lifetime passes in the form of NFTs. Ten owners will get free entry as long as they hold the tokens, as well as access to one of the festival brand’s virtual events. They also come with VIP perks like front row access, dinners cooked by celebrity chefs, and opportunities to meet and greet artists and performers. It has been reported that NFTs are designed to provide royalties to artists and designers involved in developing festival experiences each time they are resold to new owners.
These NFTs grant their owners access to VeeCon business conferences and workshops – wine entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuck. This can be seen as a networking opportunity for those interested in starting their own business in the NFT or Web3 space, with rarer NFT holders entitled to one-on-one meetings and mentorship with Vaynerchuck. Up to 555 owners of lower-tier “gift goat” NFTs receive exclusive gifts from Vaynerchuck mailed to them six times a year.
Midnight Society Founders Pass
Midnight Society is billed as an upcoming video game created by controversial Youtube gaming personality Dr. Disrespect. Games and NFTs are often seen as a natural match, but rather than just representing collectibles or unique gaming items, Midnight Society NFT owners will apparently have a say in the development of the game itself. by “participating in the decision of development- manufacturing process.” Not everyone is so sure that NFTs are suitable for the gaming industry; however – several developers have backtracked on including NFTs in their games following backlash from consumers.
This NFT project aims to raise funds for women-led organizations and initiatives around the world that work to address issues of gender imbalance and discrimination. It’s one of many emerging social projects that use the publicity – and funds – they generate to tackle serious issues. The first collection of 10,000 images sold out shortly after its launch last year, and a second collection is expected to release soon.
Meta Optimist Clinic
The cosmetics brand has launched its own series of utility NFTs that give holders access to an offer of free products, including their very hard-to-get Almost Lipstick Black Honey which has itself become an internet meme thanks to its scarcity and desirability. NFTs work as a form of loyalty program by encouraging consumers to share stories of “optimism” on the brand’s social media. Rather than selling the NFTs, they will be given to those with the best stories. Carolyn Dawkins, senior vice president of consumer engagement and product marketing, says they’re part of a mission to “modernize loyalty.”
The Tarantino NFT Collection
Last year, Quentin Tarantino decided to create NFTs based on the script of his classic film Pulp Fiction. It did this through a platform called Secret NFTs, which aims to improve levels of privacy and security around tokens. The USP of Tarantino’s project was that each of the NFTs, in addition to containing the script for a key scene from the film, would reveal previously untold secrets behind the cult hit’s plot and characters. Whether or not the auction will go ahead, however, seems undecided, as Miramax – the film’s original distributor – has filed a lawsuit claiming it owns the rights to the script, not Tarantino.
To stay up to date with the latest NFT trends and wider technologies, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and check out my new book, Business trends in practice: 25+ trends that are redefining organizations. Filled with real-world examples, it cuts through the hype to showcase key trends that will shape businesses of the future.
follow me on Twitter, LinkedInand Youtube. And don’t forget to check out my website.