The case for NFT utility 

Maretha Botes 

Utility is a vogue word within the NFT ecosystem. It refers to the usefulness, profitability, and benefit the NFT affords its owner. QkweQkwe.io, a curated NFT marketplace dedicated to African artists, embraces the idea of added value and rarity (aca utility) when it comes to NFT art.  

When you sell an NFT, you sell to an audience that is vastly different from the traditional market. 90% of artists showcasing their work in Multiplixation, QkweQwke’s launch exhibition, share this view. Their NFTs come with hidden content (utitlity) which is to be unlocked by the buyer once the NFT is bought. Unlockable content can be anything that genuinely adds value for the buyer or collector. It can be a ticket to a live show, an exclusive interview with the artist, a link to a video of how the artwork was created, or a high-quality printable version of the artwork or membership to an exclusive community or DAO. 

Even though some people still buy based on art alone, the majority of buyers are made up of collectors and investors who are looking for something that is worth collecting AND will appreciate in value. Many buyers are also looking for a better way to engage with creators through their NFT purchase, especially if the creator’s works are also available on the traditional market.  

You might wonder why you’d want an NFT with utility. Why is it even a thing? Well, when you buy an art NFT (without utility), you buy the NFT with the hope of it increasing in value. When you buy a utility NFT, you immediately connect the digital and physical worlds. You have tangible added value to your NFT. 

To take an example from the world of music, in March 2021, Kings of Leon became the first band to release an album, “When You See Yourself”, as a series of NFTs. 

As well as being released as NFTs, the album was released on platforms such as Spotify and iTunes in conventional formats, too. The album release featured different types of utility NFTs. One type of NFT included digital artwork and a digital download of the music and could also be redeemed for a real-life physical limited-edition vinyl copy of the album. Another type of NFT offered as part of the series could be redeemed for top seats at Kings of Leon shows. 

We live in a world where society is experiencing drastic changes due to evolving technology. Utility NFTs benefit both the artist and collector. They provide a way for collectors to both OWN a piece of art AND gain access to unique incentives. It is a way for artists to make thousands from their work. To share their wealth with collectors when a project is successful.  

What’s even more exciting is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of NFT utilities. Many experts believe that the Metaverse is going to be one of the future game-changers of the NFT space, as a place to store and appreciate NFT art, trade NFTs, a hub for gaming — and much more. QkweQkwe.io works closely with brands to explore possibilities of adding value for customers. For brands, just like creatives, the power of NFTs and their utilities allow for the cultivation of an audience – a community built on and connected through these digital tokens. By fully  utilising the inherent rareness and exclusiveness of NFTs, it is easier than ever to give your supporters direct benefits that in turn, turn your community into even bigger supporters. In the fast-food industry, for example, the NFT, which is, in essence, a smart contract, can be utilised as a loyalty programme. For example, 1 000 Platinum NFTs, 2000 Gold NFTs and 3000 Silver NFTs. Only a limited number of NFTs are available and are therefore rare and sought-after. Platinum gives you two family meals per month at 50% discount. Gold gives you two hamburger meals for the price of one. Silver gives you a free drink of your choice. As the owner of such an NFT, you could later decide that you’d like to sell your utility NFT at a higher price.  

The utility of NFTs gives them value. By owning this digital copy, the person or entity gains certain privileges or rights to something exclusive. And in so doing, NFTs can harness the power of blockchain tech, instead of human-driven hype. 

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
About The Author