NFTs Demystified: What are NFTs and how they can work for you?

what are NFTs

If you’ve heard the term “NFT” thrown around lately and are feeling a bit mystified, fear not: read on and we will demystify NFTs and explore how they can work for you.

A consulting group called Verified Market Research reported in October 2021 that the global NFT market is worth around US$13 billion. They also said it could grow by 33.7% every year and could be worth US$265 billion by 2030.

That is definitely something to sit up and take notice of!

So what are NFTs? They are a type of digital asset that is created, bought, and sold on the Ethereum blockchain. Digital asset? Ethereum? Blockchain? Ok demystify that! Give it to me in laymans’ terms!

We’ll get there, but before delving in to the details, you might be surprised to learn that these digital assets can have a big impact on industries beyond just crypto. From music to sports to travel; the possibilities for what can be represented as an NFT are endless. In fact, there is something really appealing for those interested in exclusive travel and luxury holiday destinations that we will be exploring later in this article.

But first, let’s dive in and explore the basics of this exciting new world. There are a few concepts to understand before looking into exactly what NFTs are.

What is the Blockchain?

Blockchain is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to websites. It is a system on top of which you can build applications and programs.

Blockchain is a way of storing information in a secure and trustworthy way without relying on a single company or entity. It’s like a big shared notebook that everyone has a copy of and can add new pages to, but no one can change anything that has already been written down.

Imagine you and your family all have a copy of a family tree that lists every member of your family and their relationships with one another. Whenever someone has a child or gets married, they let everyone else know by updating the family tree. Your family members check that the information is correct and update their own copies accordingly. Once a change is made to the family tree, it can never be changed again. This way, everyone can trust that the family tree is accurate and no one can cheat the system.

Likewise, blockchains are made up of many computers, or nodes, which all have a copy of the same information. Before anything can be added to the blockchain, it has to be verified by many different nodes to make sure it’s legitimate. This makes blockchains very secure and difficult to hack.

Overall, blockchain is a way of keeping information safe and trustworthy without needing to rely on any one person or organization. It can be used for all kinds of things, from financial transactions to keeping track of medical records, to creating a secure database of hotel and restaurant reviews, ensuring that ratings are authentic and cannot be manipulated.

The blockchain is a digital ledger that keeps a record of all transactions made with cryptocurrencies, ensuring that they are secure and transparent.

What are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are created and managed using encryption techniques known as cryptography.  They are decentralized, meaning that they are not controlled by any government or financial institution, but are instead based on the blockchain, meaning they operate independently of a central authority.

This might sound confusing, but think of it like buying and selling something without using cash or a credit card. Instead, you use a digital wallet and a secure network to transfer the value from one person to another. It is like exchanging money with someone, but with a lot more security and without having to rely on banks or governments. So cryptocurrencies are not physical, but exist only as digital code. They are gaining popularity in South Africa and around the world, as they offer a new way of conducting financial transactions that is fast, secure, and accessible to everyone.

Which leads us to Ethereum. Much of the NFT market is created and exists on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum is a digital platform that lets people make deals with each other without needing a middleman like a bank or a lawyer. It is based on a technology called blockchain, which makes it secure and trustworthy. Instead of using money, people use a special kind of digital money called “ether” to pay each other. People can also use Ethereum to create their own digital things like contracts or artwork, and sell them to others.

Which brings us to NFTs

What are NFTs?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. And no, that isn’t some weird cryptocurrency, although it is built on a similar programming spectrum or methodology. Instead, think of it like a digital certificate of ownership that lives on the blockchain.

So, what makes it “non-fungible”? Well, simply put, it means that it is unique and cannot be replaced with something else.

For example, you can exchange a R20 note for two R10 notes, and it will still have the same value. But imagine you have a rare and unique set of stamps featuring historical South African figures. If you were to trade one of these stamps for a different stamp, you would end up with a completely different item that may not hold the same value or meaning for you. This is similar to how NFTs work, where each token is one-of-a-kind.

NFTs are digital assets that can be anything, from a drawing to music to a tweet. They can even represent assets, from virtual real estate in holiday destinations to unique experiences like private tours or special events. And once you create an NFT, you own a digital contract, statement or code that shows you own that digital asset. It’s like a digital version of the certificate of authenticity that comes with a physical piece of art.

But here’s where it gets really interesting. The ownership details of an NFT are added to a new block on the blockchain whenever it is “minted” or sold, ensuring that the history of the NFT remains unchanged and the ownership is preserved. This means that NFTs can be bought and sold on a secondary marketplace, just like physical art.

Recently, a digital artwork by a South African artist was sold for over R6 million. The artwork is a unique digital creation that exists only online, and was purchased by a collector as a one-of-a-kind piece. This shows that digital creations can hold significant value and be traded just like physical items.

So, there you have it! NFTs are a way to own and trade unique digital assets, and they are quickly gaining popularity in the mainstream.

The different types of NFTs

PFP (Pictures for Profile) NFTs or Avatars

These are basically like digital profile pictures, used to represent a unique identity or persona that you can use on social media sites like Twitter.

The first NFT avatars were called CryptoPunks and they were created back in 2017. But the ones that really took off were the Bored Ape Yacht Club PFPs, made by Yuga Labs in 2021. They are basically little pixelated characters with different features like hats and glasses. People in the crypto community started using them as their profile pictures, and soon, they became super popular. Celebrities and auction houses started buying them, and now even the cheapest one is worth around $100k!

If you are lucky enough to own one, you are part of an exclusive club that includes famous celebs like Elon Musk, Madonna, and Snoop Dog. Plus, you get to go to all sorts of cool parties like ApeFest and other NFT-gated events. So not only can you show off your fancy PFP, but you get some sweet perks too.

And as the metaverse grows, who knows what other cool stuff you’ll be able to do with your digital avatar.

Art NFTs

Artist      Mike Winkelmann

Completion date  21 February 2021
Owner    Vignesh Sundaresan (MetaKovan)

Digital Work – This type of NFT is used to sell digital artwork such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Digital artwork is created using various digital tools and software and can be sold as an NFT. An example of a digital artwork NFT is “Everydays : The First 5000 Days” by Beeple. An artist by the name of Mike Winkelmann (Beeple) packaged up his first 5000 pieces into one big digital collage which was sold for $69 million in 2021 at an auction with Christie’s, the world-famous auction house.

Music NFTs can be used to sell music as well. Artists can release their music as an NFT, which can be bought and sold by fans. An example of a music NFT is Grimes’ “WarNymph Collection Vol. 1,” which was sold for $6 million.

Photography NFTs can also be used to sell photos. Photographers can sell their digital photographs as NFTs. In November, Twin Flames #49. Alyson and Courtney Aliano sold for 871 ETH (about $2,467,127), which makes it one of the most expensive photographs ever sold and the single most expensive photography NFT to be sold.

Collectable NFTs

Digital Collectable NFTs can be anything that is collectable, such as rare items, limited edition items, and historical items and can include virtual items like game items and in-game currency.

Memes can be created and sold as a unique NFT. An example of a meme NFT is the “Disaster Girl” meme, which was sold for $500,000. “DogeCoin,” an NFT representing the popular internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog, which has since been adopted as the official mascot of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.

NFTs can be used to sell social media posts. Creators can sell their tweets or other social media posts as NFTs. An example of a social media post NFT is the first ever tweet, which was sold for $2.9 million. The tweet, which says “just setting up my twttr,” was first posted in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey.

Sports fans can purchase NFTs of their favourite athletes or teams. An example of a sports NFT is the NBA Top Shot, which allows fans to buy and sell officially licensed NBA highlights as NFTs.

Utility NFTs

These are special digital tokens that come with extra benefits for their owners. Utility NFTs are not just regular smart-contract tokens – they give you access to things like exclusive rewards, memberships, events, and even opportunities to earn money without doing anything. Essentially, they are “NFTs with perks” that offer more than just ownership of a cool digital asset.

Domain names can be sold as NFTs such as “Paradigm.eth,” which was sold for 420 ETH ($1,488,480) on 9th October 2021. To prove just how popular the NFT space is, the domain name was sold for $15 million.

Community NFTs can be used to represent membership in a specific community such as “Friends with Benefits,” a social club where members can buy and sell their own NFTs.

Fundraising NFTs can be used to raise funds for a specific cause or charity such as “Save the Children,” an NFT collection that raises funds for the Save the Children organisation.

Virtual land NFTs can be used to represent ownership of virtual land in online gaming worlds or virtual environments such as “Decentraland,” a virtual world where players can buy, sell and develop virtual real estate.

Trading card NFTs can be used to represent rare or unique trading cards for collectors or fans.

Unlocking Unique Travel Experiences with NFTs

As the world continues to recover from the Covid pandemic, the travel industry is looking for new and innovative ways to enhance the customer experience and stay ahead of the competition. One of the most significant travel trends in travel technology for 2023 is NFT travel. These digital assets stored on the blockchain have the potential to revolutionise the industry, offering unique and personalized travel experiences, efficient management of customer data, and innovative customer rewards programs. We’ll explore the role of NFTs in the South African travel industry, their benefits, challenges, and potential future, as well as the ways in which early adopters, including a South African company, are using the Pangolin Collection NFT to unlock exclusive travel experiences.

Early adopters are using NFTs to unlock unique travel experiences and private spaces around the world. For example, some companies are using travel NFTs to offer exclusive access to luxury hotels, private game lodges and other high-end travel experiences. These experiences are often customised to the individual traveller’s preferences, making NFT travel a highly personalised and unique experience.

Travel NFTs are a relatively new concept, but they have the potential to change the travel industry in many ways. One of the most significant benefits of NFTs is their ability to offer a secure and efficient way to manage customer data. Traditional loyalty schemes in the industry face challenges in managing customer data effectively. With NFTs, each customer is assigned a unique NFT containing their records, ensuring secure storage of information. The NFT can be used for check-ins, transactions, and loyalty point redemption at hospitality destinations, making the travel experience more seamless and efficient for customers.

NFT-based customer rewards programs are leading the way in innovative NFT uses in travel. These programs offer travellers a unique way to earn rewards, and they can also be used to incentivise repeat business. As the travel industry continues to recover from the pandemic, companies that embrace new technologies like Travel NFTs are likely to be the most successful. By offering customers a more personalised and secure travel experience, these companies can stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of travellers.

Leveraging NFTs for Personalised and Exclusive Travel Experiences

The travel industry is embracing NFTs because they offer several key benefits.

Firstly, Travel NFTs can streamline the booking process, making it easier for travellers to track availability and process payments securely. This can help reduce the cost and complexity of the booking process, while also protecting against fraud.

Secondly, Travel NFTs can help build customer loyalty by providing a secure and transparent platform for tracking and redeeming loyalty rewards. This can help travel companies retain customers and generate repeat business, as well as foster a sense of community amongst travellers.

One key benefit is the ability to offer unique and personalised travel experiences. One such company in South Africa is the Pangolin Collection. By using NFTs to track customer data and preferences, travel companies can tailor their offerings to better suit individual needs and interests. For example, a customer who is a birder might receive an NFT that grants them access to private game reserves in different countries. This kind of hyper-personalisation can create a sense of exclusivity and build brand loyalty.

Another benefit is the potential for increased revenue and profitability. By offering NFTs as rewards or exclusive experiences, travel companies can generate additional income streams and tap into the growing market for digital collectables. NFTs can also be used to monetise content, such as photos or videos taken on a trip, by creating limited edition NFTs that can be sold to fans or collectors.

Finally, NFTs can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and identity. By creating their own NFT ecosystems, travel brands can allow users to interact with and identify with the brand through NFTs. These NFTs can work with other platforms, allowing travellers to use them across a range of different travel-related services and experiences.

Overall, the use of NFTs in the travel industry is likely to continue to grow as companies look for innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of travellers. By embracing new technologies like NFTs, travel companies can offer a more personalised and efficient travel experience, while also building customer loyalty and brand identity. As the industry continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies, it’s likely that we will see even more innovative uses of Travel NFTs in the future.

The Pangolin Collection Utility NFT's

The Pangolin Collection will be minting (creating) 111 limited-edition, one-of-a-kind utility NFTs, each a digital representation of a pangolin with a unique combination of traits. Every NFT in the collection is unique and has been digitally crafted from a selection of more than 100 distinct characteristics, including apparel and physical characteristics. Each NFT functions as proof of membership to the exclusive Pangolin Collection, with a world of member perks, specifically in the realm of travel. 

When you purchase your Pangolin Collection Utility NFT, you own it forever. Not only that, but you also gain exclusive access to the Pangolin Collection’s physical properties at exclusive member rates as well as The Registry Collection’s portfolio of local and international destinations.

Each NFT provides access to physical properties, including boutique hotels in

– the USA, such as Florida, California and Hawaii
– Canada
– the Carribean Islands of Barbados or Jamaica.
– Brazil, Mexico, Belize, or Costa Rica.
– Indonesia and Thailand
– the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia, or
– Scotland, Italy, Malta and Portugal.

And then of course they have a huge choice of South African penthouses, lodges and residences to choose from.

The Pangolin Collection Utility NFTs live securely on the Ethereum blockchain, the worlds largest and most trusted smart-contract blockchain. The way technology has advanced nowadays has allowed us to connect with each other in ways that we couldn’t have imagined just a few decades back.
While the idea may seem ridiculous to some, it could be a smart move for the Pangolin Collection as we’ve already seen NFT collections, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, sell for millions of dollars. The Pangolin Collection members not only receive exclusive travel perks but potentially also a valuable alternative investment.

When you mint a Pangolin Collection Utility NFT, you’re getting a one-of-a-kind piece of digital art that is all about the world’s most trafficked mammal and one of Africa’s rarest animals – the pangolin.

It is their story that inspired this whole collection. When you buy one, 2.5% of your purchase goes straight to helping pangolin conservation efforts in South Africa. Not only are you getting a totally unique piece of art, but you’re also making a real difference in the world. And you have to admit, these pangolins look really cool.

If you’re looking for a unique lifestyle investment, the Pangolin Collection Utility NFTs are worth considering. Not only will you own a one-of-a-kind digital pangolin, but you’ll also join a community of like-minded travellers who share your passion for adventure. You’ll gain access to exclusive travel experiences that aren’t available anywhere else, all while embracing the cutting-edge technology that’s shaping our world. Get ready to explore the world in a whole new way!

In conclusion NFTs are a fascinating new technology that are revolutionising the way we think about digital ownership. By providing a unique way to verify and transfer ownership of digital assets, NFTs have opened up a world of new possibilities for creators, investors, and consumers alike. Whether you’re an artist looking to monetise your work, a collector seeking one-of-a-kind pieces, or simply curious about the future of digital ownership, understanding NFTs is essential. By demystifying the basics of NFTs and exploring their potential applications, we can all benefit from this exciting new frontier in digital innovation.

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