Fractionalized NFTs are a way to segment an NFT. But why break up a thing meant to be singular and unique?
Fractional ownership of an NFT collection or single piece of intellectual property brings smaller investors into the NFT space by allowing them to buy and sell what was previously unaffordable.
Also, NFTs aren’t liquid. If you own a valuable NFT and want to realize some value from that NFT without selling it then fractionalization is a great option—you can parcel it out, so to speak, and sell portions. This allows a holder to create liquidity from their asset.
Fractionalized NFTs are realized in the blockchain space in a couple of ways. There are exchanges where people can come together to own a piece of an NFT. Think of this as a platform that facilitates collaborative buying and oversees voting by owners on how to manage the asset. Then there are programs that allow the owner of an NFT to break up an asset and sell pieces.
In each of these instances an NFT (an ERC-721 token) is being portioned up and the smaller pieces are represented by ERC-20 tokens.
Use cases for fractionalized NFTs in the consumer space are clear, as they’re often used to purchase expensive items as a group. But there are also ways to apply this technology in a business setting. Let’s look at a few examples.
Like many NFT business applications, fractionalized NFTs offer companies the ability to open new revenue streams. If an enterprise breaks a holding into approachable pieces, they can seek smaller investors. This might apply to a piece of art, collectible, or real estate.
For example, a building could be represented by an NFT and broken into pieces so the community could buy a share. Maybe there is a buyout option in the contract to allow the company to buy back its building when cash is available or the fractionalization is left in place to build a relationship with shareholders. RealT.co is a company experimenting with this model, though it’s only available to accredited investors in the United States.
Fractionalized NFTs could be an interesting way for businesses to raise capital, or crowdsource funding, outside of traditional capital channels.
There’s also potential to connect royalties to the resale of pieces, as well, further generating value for a company as pieces are sold on the secondary market.
One interesting application of fractionalized NFTs is price discovery. Say we have a piece of intellectual property or we want to gauge the value of our name, maybe for naming rights or licensing. We can represent this thing as an ERC-721 token and make fractions of it available to the public. This helps us crowdsource a market price, better understand interest and demand, and attach a value to their holding.
We talked about turning the community into shareholders of a real estate holding, but this could extend in a number of directions. What if we used a fractionalized NFT to raise capital? While there are traditional vehicles for finding investors, Web3 offers us new ways to access communities, unlock audience, and crowdsource involvement to fund new projects. If we represent the share in our project via NFT, we can then trigger automatic payments or rewards to shareholders as the company grows—a Web3 version of dividends.
The NFT market creates exclusivity via technology, as ensuring uniqueness increases value. Fractionalized NFTs are an interesting mix of exclusivity and inclusion, as the breaking up of a unique asset into affordable pieces allows more people to enter the market. It’s a similar technique we’ve seen in fashion, with pop-up clothing stores and sneaker drops. Limited releases generate demand.
So how could enterprises apply the lessons learned with fractionalized apes and Jordans?
Say we’re in media and entertainment and releasing an album. It’s a highly-anticipated release from our star artist—and we want to create buzz. We can represent the album as an NFT then sell a limited number of shares. Shareholders get to listen to the album, get exclusive tickets, unique merchandise, and access behind-the-scenes content. They can then sell their share to a friend who gets to listen. Each time the share is sold, we are paid a royalty. For a time, our album that was once delivered straight to box store shelves operates like an underground, viral letter, and by the time we make it available to the public we’ve created a community with an interest in supporting the art.
Popular Fractional NFT Marketplaces include Unicly, Fractional.art, and Otis. Each takes a different approach to fractionalizing NFTs. For an enterprise looking to build an NFT platform or deploy them to create stickiness in the market, we can learn from these consumer facing platforms. Fun applications of the technology give us ideas for how we can apply blockchain technology to do better business.
In the blockchain space, there is a new, innovative application of the technology everyday. If applied thoughtfully, fractionalized NFTs are a way to generate revenue, build community, and create exclusivity.
Kaleido is your easy button for developing next era blockchain based business applications.