15
Min Read

The 25 (Most Realistic) Ways Enterprises Can Use NFTs to Win New Customers

Marc Lewis
Managing Editor
December 21, 2022
Update
Since this post was written, Hyperledger FireFly has reached 1.0. Learn more here!

There's no doubt that NFTs are interesting. Ranging from frivolous art to soulbound documents meant to transform the way we live and work, tokens are becoming more mainstream. This means businesses are looking for ways to leverage the technology to win and retain customers, reward valuable employees, and open streams of revenue.

In this blog we’re going to look at a long list of the most popular use cases for NFTs—and we’re going to do so through the lens of an enterprise business. Our goal is to get you thinking about how we can bring web3 to you, how we can shape the technology to meet your needs—and less to inspire you to chase an emerging tech.

All these ideas could be built on our NFT platform to help you win, reward, and keep valuable customers and employees, while creating some buzz around your brand.  

1. Unique Digital Artwork

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are revolutionizing the way people think about digital art. These unique tokens leverage blockchain technology to encrypt and protect digital artwork, ensuring authenticity and opening up new ways for creators to monetize their work. They create an open environment for collectors to invest in artwork without fear of counterfeiting or duplication. Tokenized artwork can also be resold on third-party marketplaces, giving buyers more freedom and flexibility when it comes to selling their investments.

Artists can create limited-edition artwork and build scarcity into the token code, driving up demand and potentially earning them higher profits. The same contracts can require that a percentage of any resale profits go to the original creator too, which allows the artist to share in long-term gains if the work becomes suddenly popular.

This collage of bored apes is an example of digital artwork.
Bored Apes have sold more than $2 billion in NFTs.

This is exciting for the art world—but it’s interesting for the enterprise. By partnering with creators to build NFT collections, businesses can win customers or reward employees with a token that can increase in value. These collections can also create buzz around a brand, especially as we think about pairing legacy brands with up-and-coming digital producers.

2. In-game Assets  

The worlds of traditional gaming and digital assets are intersecting in ever-increasing ways. Games now incorporate digital assets, such as collectables, weapons, and costumes that can be bought with in-game currency. Using NFTs to power these gaming assets means unique pieces of digital data are stored on the blockchain and allow for a limitless range of items, iterations, or innovations. By owning these NFTs gamers not only get access to specialized content but also possess the actual item itself, providing a better feeling of ownership than regular game currency does.

In some cases NFTs can unlock special privileges over other players, such as exclusive events or priority queue status. The added security and verifiability offered by the blockchain technology give game designers and hardware manufacturers a way to offer specialized incentives to excite users and reward loyalty.

According to Mordor Intelligence blockchain gaming is set to experience remarkable growth over the next five years. This is great for gaming companies, but also interesting for enterprise brands who think about how NFTs they create can live in various digital worlds. Say Nike mints an NFT of a shoe—can we make that shoe available in a number of games? How much reach might an enterprise find if they build assets for the metaverse?

Mordor intelligence study on size of blockchain gaming space.
Mordor Intelligence has studied the size of the blockchain gaming industry. Follow the link above to read their full report. Image: Mordor Intelligence

3. Identity Verification

Identity verification has always posed a problem for organizations. With the development of blockchain technology, NFTs have become a valuable tool in authenticating identities.

NFTs work by encrypting an individual’s personal information into a token of value. This token is located on the blockchain, making it virtually impossible to access or counterfeit. The encrypted data is also immutable, meaning that any changes made will immediately be detected by the system and flagged.

Companies can create their own identity verification framework on top of NFT technology, allowing them to customize parameters for authentication and perform low-level audits whenever required. As we go forward, we’ll talk about how these verified identities can power new membership programs, loyalty and reward programs, and create a sticky connection between brands and customers.

4. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs have been around for ages and are one of the most common ways to reward customers. They provide an incentive for customers to shop more frequently or at higher levels, and often come in the form of points that can be exchanged for rewards such as discounts or free merchandise.

However, traditional loyalty programs are limited by a lack of authentication and traceability. This makes them vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. They also are difficult to differentiate, as most companies offer some types of rewards for purchasing more.

Enter NFTs. By leveraging blockchain technology, NFTs provide a secure and immutable way to track loyalty points and ensure points are not being tampered with. Not only do they offer enhanced security, but they also offer greater flexibility than their traditional counterparts. By simplifying engagement between companies and customers, they enable more customized rewards tailored to individual customer needs and desires.

One example of an NFT-based loyalty program is called “Starbucks Odyssey,” launched by Starbucks and Polygon. In addition to the downstream impact of more connected customers, brands who are early to these trends are seeing additional lift from earned media around announcements.

Image of Starbucks and Polygon logos.
Starbucks and Polygon partnered on a loyalty program, and the announcement itself drove brand value. Image: Starbucks

5. Supply Chain Management

The world of supply chain management is undergoing a major transformation with the emergence of tokens as a way to track goods, transactions, and regulatory approvals along the course of goods. NFTs can represent, track, and verify a product from sourcing raw materials to the ultimate consumer.

The significant elements of tracing goods through the supply chain and preventing counterfeiting are secure data verification, preservation of privacy, and quick execution. NFTs have been designed to address all three concerns at the same time. With NFTs, each aspect of the product journey is recorded on a single blockchain-secured ledger that provides an immutable record of all transactions. This not only limits potential fraudulent activity but also helps companies ensure that their goods reach customers efficiently.

Looking beyond streamlining legacy systems, supply chains backed by blockchain have the potential to help eco-conscious brands win new customers, as environmental bonafides can be verified and tracked from source to shelf. Imagine the value for a large company when the very business of getting goods to market is the marketing platform as well.

6. Real Estate Ownership

With the introduction of blockchain technology, non-fungible tokens can now be used to transfer and protect real estate ownership. The tokens securely store crucial information about a property, like legal documents and records of past transactions, allowing for more efficient record keeping than traditional paper filing systems.

What's more, these tokens can be exchanged, tracked, traded, and sold, much like a physical asset—only much easier to store and move. We’ve also seen NFT-powered mortgages used in ESG portfolios, as investments, their value, and the benefit to the community of the investments can be represented as an asset. This opens new revenue opportunities for businesses that want to monetize physical property—possibly through fractional ownership—or raise funds via digital holdings. It’s a new frontier that’s sure to be profitable for the first few large businesses to harness NFT-backed real estate.

7. Fashion and Wearables

NFTs provide an easy, secure, and cost-effective way to transfer ownership of goods, and in the fashion world digital tokens can represent a real, luxury item. This allows companies to create virtual versions of their products that can be used in different contexts, such as gaming experiences or virtual stores with exclusive deals. They can be used to verify authenticity or scarcity too.

Consumers can purchase a virtual jacket or pair of shoes and store them securely on the blockchain. This ensures that they remain the sole owner of their purchased item, which eliminates counterfeiting concerns.

NFT image via Louis Vuitton.
This NFT is from Louis Vuitton and an example of how a luxury brand can drive awareness via web3 tech. Image: Louis Vuitton

NFTs are also enabling companies to tokenize their physical goods and products, creating a secure and immutable record of a product’s journey from crafting to ownership. This can be used by a fashion label to promote ethical sourcing and production and build a brand around sustainability.

We like the idea of pairing any luxury good with an NFT because it accomplishes a handful of goals. It gives customers a way to display purchases for social clout, it ensures provenance and authenticity, but it also helps attach companies to secondary markets. Via smart contracts, designers can claim rights to sales years down the line.

8. Events and Ticketing

Non-fungible tokens enable event organizers to create unique, digital versions of a ticket that can be securely stored on the blockchain or transferred to a buyer. Consumers can purchase a ticket with complete assurance that they are the sole owner of that item and that it can't be counterfeited.

A view of NFL tickets shown as NFTs.
The NFL has started to mint tickets as NFTs, which become collectibles after use. Image: NFL

NFTs also allow events to easily track ticket sales, identify any instances of fraud, and accurately measure their digital reach. They can be attached to incentives or loyalty programs too, which is especially useful for large companies with multiple venues or locations that want to track customers throughout a relationship.

This is a great idea for large ticket sellers who want to ensure authenticity, share in secondary sales, and also create stickiness with customers. How many tickets are tossed after they’re scanned? What is the branding potential if that same ticket was branded and shared millions of times around the web?

9. Virtual Land

NFTs allow developers to create virtual worlds and parcel out sections of it into exclusive pieces of property. Consumers can purchase these parcels with complete assurance that they are the sole owner of that virtual place. This creates a safe, secure platform for developers to build virtual real estate markets in the coming metavers and empower consumers to invest with confidence.

Additionally, the use of blockchain technology ensures an immutable record of ownership which makes it difficult for any malicious actors to tamper with or steal virtual land.

Companies like Meta are experimenting with virtual land—but how can we shape this idea to be more practical for other enterprise businesses? Maybe we want to complete a stadium renovation, could we sell digital seats to fund the project? A brand might build a community with limited slots, then allow the owners of those slots to place an avatar on a mark for visitors to see. There are many ways a business can create digital land, monetize attendance, and create scarcity and buzz.  

10. Sports NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are transforming the sports industry by providing an easy and secure way to transfer ownership of digital goods. This technology enables teams, leagues, and athletes to tokenize their unique products such as in-game items, cards, or memorabilia. Consumers can purchase these digital assets with complete assurance that they are the sole owner of that item and can't be counterfeited.

A screenshot of sports NFTs on OpenSea
OpenSea has collections of sports NFTs from leagues, players, and brands.

Cards, tickets, and loyalty are cool applications, but what if NFTs could allow fans to participate in a favorite team's big decisions? Imagine all the holders of a certain NFT had a tie-breaking vote on a draft pick or stadium upgrades. NFTs give teams a way to connect with fans and empower them to participate in the team’s future.

This is already in play for most of the large sports, as institutions like the NBA and NFL are creating sports NFTs. But what about the smaller sports? A sport like billiards that is trying to build buzz might create special tokens, support the value of those tokens, and bring new people to the names in their sport.

11. Brand Identity

NFTs let companies tokenize their unique products, or even their own likeness. This offers exciting opportunities for businesses to increase brand recognition and personalize the customer’s experience.

Brands can issue and manage exclusive digital assets, such as art pieces, collectible cards, and badges to loyal customers or through promotional campaigns. They can incentivize customer loyalty by rewarding them with rare products that they can display in their virtual wallets, which turns into free advertising. Then they can track the growth or engagement with these assets to gain a full understanding of reach and measure ROI.

12. Avatars and Profile Photos

NFTs are popular for creating digital self-expression and personalizing the web. Users can upload a unique profile photo as an NFT which can then be used on various social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram. This offers users more control over their online identity and gives them a way to represent themselves in the digital space.

This screenshot from OpenSea shows avatars for sale.
OpenSea has a marketplace for NFT-based avatars and profile pictures.

NFT profile photos can also be used to link and synchronize different social media accounts without sacrificing security or privacy, creating a more unified and consistent digital presence. This is especially useful for people who want to keep their professional and personal life separate as they can assign two different NFTs.

13. Entertainment NFTs

Bands have used NFTs to reward early adopters with a digital collectible that can increase in value as the group becomes popular, track engagement and listeners through smart contracts, and also open new revenue streams. An album can be issued with an NFT and if that NFT becomes a digital collectible the brand can share in profits on the secondary market.

Image from a Nature study shows share of transactions by NFT type.
This screenshot from a Nature.com study shows NFT transaction types diversifying over time. Image: Nature

14. Community Platforms

NFTs can be used to grant exclusive access to communities, forums, and even DAOs. Because they are unique and highly trackable, organizations can issue these entrance passes to their private communities and create a feeling of exclusivity while measuring engagement and attendance. Brands and clubs that use tokens to signify membership can encourage users to display their NFT as a status symbol, creating demand and driving up the value of the particular club, event, or status.

To learn more about how enterprises can build business via NFT-based memberships, check out our article here.

15. Fintech Applications

NFTs can be used as collateral for loans, which is one of their most beneficial potential uses. Imagine a world where any individual can immediately create liquidity, secure financing, and enter a global market—and do all of that digitally.

NFTs also have the potential to represent more complicated financial products like options, bonds, or insurance policies which can then be sold on secondary markets. These financial products can leverage smart contracts to ensure the issuing institution profits off secondary sales or trades, creating new revenue streams.

Fractional ownership is another fascinating idea related to the acceptance of NFTs in Defi. We’ve talked about fractionalized NFTs in the past, and what we’re talking about is the breaking of an asset into digital portions, if you will, and selling those portions to investors. This makes large purchases more accessible, builds communities around large projects or acquisitions, and allows new investors to access markets.

16. Photography

Rights and usage are constant concerns in the photography industry. There are large institutions that manage libraries of content, individuals selling work at one-off rates, and everything in between. But the common problem is the stealing and misuse of work without payment back to the creator. NFTs offer a new way to digitize a visual asset and track its use across platforms.

Tracking photos by minting a digital equivalent is a game-changing NFT use case, and solves a number of problems by validating authenticity, charging for usage, and tracking unauthorized duplication.

17. DeFi Applications

Within DeFi, there are already many instances of NFT applications. These NFTs offer advantages as they are an immutable, transparent, and flexible alternative to conventional financial services. This opens new revenue streams and helps attract new customers.

NFT collectors who are looking for novel ways to monetize their assets can leverage holdings on DeFi platforms to create liquidity, collateralized loans, or make money by presenting assets to use for staking operations. DeFi institutions can then attach common financial frameworks like interest to NFTs and incentivize users to store assets with or interact on their platform.

18. Travel Industry

One of the most promising use cases for NFTs in the travel industry is the creation of digital passports. A digital passport would allow travelers to store all of their important travel documents in a secure, blockchain-based platform. This would not only make it more difficult for criminals to forge or alter travel documents, but it would also make it easier for authorities to verify the identity of travelers.

NFTs displayed in the lobby of the Dream Hollywood.
Dream Hollywood displayed NFTs from digital creators in their lobby to connect a digital promotions with their in-hotel experience.

Another potential use case for NFTs in the travel industry is the development of new types of loyalty programs. For example, airlines could offer “flight miles” that could be exchanged for discounts on future travel. Hotels could offer “room nights” that could be redeemed for free stays or upgrades. There may even be “virtual vacations” or rooms offered to reward valued customers.

19. Domain Name NFTs

Someone who owns an NFT representing a domain name could sell the domain name for more than the original purchase price, as they could write into the contract for the domain information about its value, visits, or content. Blockchain domain systems would also allow users to manage domains via private keys and store them securely. Blockchain domains would also be permanently registered in a public registry and they cannot be deleted or changed by a third party, making them more secure than traditional domains.

20. Academic and Digital Credentials

NFTs are an effective way to present academic qualifications, as they cannot be edited or hacked. We can also attach all types of information to this permanent credential, like course attendance and completions, degrees, grades, and ratings. Smart contracts can help us regularly update these records as new courses are completed or trigger reminders when a continuing education program is required. These digital credentials can then be easily shared in job search or on a website and are more trustworthy than a written bio that is easily inflated.

NFTs would help ensure the integrity of the credential and prevent fraud. Stored on a blockchain, institutions would have a way to store and track employee credentials, manage grant submissions, and populate any legal or regulatory documents.

Finally, NFTs offer a way to monetize credentials. For example, employers may be willing to pay more for a credential that is stored on an immutable blockchain as it may save valuable time previously spent tracking down proof or references.

21. Wine NFTs

In the wine industry, NFTs are used to track the provenance of wine bottles. By attaching an NFT to a bottle of wine, producers can create a digital record of the wine's journey from vineyard to cellar. This record can then be accessed by anyone, providing transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain.

NFTs can also be used to verify the authenticity of a particular bottle or vintage. By scanning the NFT attached to a bottle, consumers can be sure that they are buying genuine wine and not a counterfeit product.

22. Literature and Books

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to securely track and trade digital assets. The publishing industry has begun to explore the use of NFTs as a way to protect the copyright of digital books and other content. When a work is registered as an NFT, it can be verified as unique and owned by the creator. This provides a level of protection against piracy and plagiarism.

An Open Sea screenshot showing NFT books for sale.
LIT Project One sells literary work as NFTs on OpenSea.

NFTs can also be used to sell digital content in a way that is similar to physical book sales. For example, an author could sell an NFT-registered ebook for $10, with the buyer receiving a unique copy that can be stored in their digital wallet. This opens up new revenue streams for authors and publishers, and helps to ensure that creators are compensated for their work on the primary, secondary, and even tertiary market.

23. Healthcare Data and Incentives

NFTs are non-fungible tokens that have numerous applications in the healthcare industry. One of the most important benefits of NFTs is that they can be used to track patient data. This is because each NFT is unique and cannot be duplicated, meaning that it can be used to store a patient's medical history, medications, and other important information.

NFTs can also be used to create smart contracts that automatically execute when certain conditions are met, such as a patient making a payment. This can help to streamline the healthcare industry and reduce the need for paperwork and manual processes.

Institutions can also reward patients for healthy behaviors. Say a patient who meets their fitness goals, an insurance provider can give them an NFT that can be redeemed for discounts on health products or services.

24. Non-profit and Political Fundraising

Because each NFT is unique, it can be considered a collectible item. This has made NFTs popular with nonprofits, politicians, artists, and celebrities who can sell their work or access directly to fans without going through a middleman. NFTs essentially become premium content, like exclusive video footage or behind-the-scenes photos, and provide a direct connection between a cause and a customer. A call to action like “Donate now and get an exclusive NFT” not only rewards a donation but gives a donor something to share with friends and family as proof of participation.

25. Social Media

Consider a social media platform that allows users to buy, sell, or trade virtual experiences. By using NFTs, experiences can be represented as a unique token that can be traded on the platform. This would create a new economy within the platform, where users could earn income by creating and selling valuable experiences.

In addition, NFTs could also be used to represent ownership of digital content, such as photos, videos, or songs. This would allow content creators to monetize their work in a way that is not possible with traditional currency.

Final Thoughts

The possibilities for non-fungible tokens are endless and this is just the beginning. As more people become familiar with the concept of a non-fungible token, we expect to see even more innovative uses for them. To keep up, we'll regularly update this list as new ideas are proven in the market.

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Start learning blockchain and creating enterprise solutions today with a free Kaleido account!

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Build a Custom NFT Experience

Our NFT platform makes minting and managing NFTs at scale (gas free) easier than ever. Learn how to get started with just a few clicks.

Get Started

Build a Custom NFT Experience

Our NFT platform makes minting and managing NFTs at scale (gas free) easier than ever. Learn how to get started with just a few clicks.

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