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What are the real utilities of NFTs? (Beyond speculation)

Taking away HYPE and speculation, what are NFTs really for?


High-value NFTs and bluechip PFPs continue to dominate the space, despite the recent bear market, so it is not too strange that most retails associate NFTs only with financial speculation. Putting NFTs in this category seems the quickest and most convenient way to answer why people buy NFTs.


But in reality, NFTs are much more than that.


Part of the reason brands are flocking to the Web3 is the need to make more people aware of the technologies associated with it. Of course, this includes NFTs, which in recent years have served as a way for creatives to completely free themselves from middlemen when it comes to making a living from their work. So here is an overview of some of the best real-world use cases of NFTs and how they could make your life a little more convenient in the future.




Permanent records (SBTs)


In a way, one of the oldest challenges, that of legitimizing property or capital with irrevocable longevity, is coming to an end thanks to the capabilities of NFTs. The best example of this? Soulbound tokens (SBTs). This is a new type of NFT proposed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, designed to function as a full suite of tools useful for online users to preserve - and protect - their identity. But how does this seemingly digital-first technology fit into the actual use cases of NFTs?


If SBTs are launched as planned, they will have a very significant impact on everyone's online and offline lives. With SBTs, users will be able to enjoy all kinds of utilities, such as the ability to store medical records, academic data, work history and everything else as NFTs. But SBTs are not marketable, which makes them different from regular NFTs. In addition, SBTs are designed to be immutable and permanent records to ensure that anyone can stay connected to their digital and physical existence.


Perhaps the most promising aspect of SBTs is their ability to be a totally opt-in experience. In other words, there is no need for every single piece of mint information to be publicly linked to one's physical person (or stored where it might be lost). Also, users will not have to coin every single detail of their lives and accomplishments on the blockchain. Only the parts that one wants to keep.




Voting


Unfortunately, despite tremendous advances in the technologies used to record electoral votes, these systems remain susceptible to one major form of attack: fraud. Although election issues are not the number one issue on the global agenda, the possibility of widespread fraud in the voting system still exists. The reason? The electronic voting systems on which democratic countries rely, whose weaknesses and vulnerabilities have been widely documented on the Internet since these devices first rose to prominence.


But conducting the voting process digitally may not be an entirely incorrect premise. Here is the blockchain and, of course, NFTs. Registering votes on the blockchain ensures that every registered vote cannot be tampered with and will remain registered indefinitely.


Ahead of the 2022 Philippine elections, a Filipino citizen seized on this idea and launched an online voting platform powered by blockchain and, of course, NFTs. The problem? He was a 12-year-old kid. But he may have nailed it. The results of his online voting platform mirrored the results of official polls leading up to the election and even the actual results of the 2022 Philippine elections.




Real estate ownership


NFTs have not only unlocked the virtual real estate industry. They are also able to foster the real real estate industry. And this makes perfect sense. After all, for most people, home ends up being the only high-value investment they make in their lives. So how do NFTs fit into this secular industry?


First, let's look at the background. Real estate NFTs are not new: the first recorded real estate NFT sale was in 2017, when TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington bought an apartment on Propy, backed by blockchain. In 2021, he then auctioned this property on the blockchain for 36 ETH, which was valued at about $93,000 at the time.


For the real estate industry, this is big news. And it largely comes down to how NFTs can have smart contracts written into them, which can potentially reduce the otherwise months-long process of buying and selling real estate to a fraction of the time. With the success of transactions facilitated by Propy, it may be a matter of time before this convenient new reality becomes the norm in real estate.


Other realities, such as Roofstock, hope to facilitate further sales of NFT properties to more forward-looking buyers. In October 2022, they were able to facilitate the sale of a single-family rental property to an investor with a single click. "Instead of waiting months for underwriting, appraisals, title searches, and deed preparation, I was able to purchase a fully insured, rent-ready property with one click," said real estate investor Adam Slipakoff in a press release shared with nft now. But how does it work? After depositing a one-time membership token for a prospective homeowner, Roofstock enables these users to make one-click real estate transactions.


NFTs in real estate are also able to make the premise of home ownership more realistic for more people around the world. "With DeFi, we have the opportunity to offer consumers cheaper and faster asset-based financing options," said Sanjay Raghavan, Web3 manager at Roofstock, in an interview. "Between faster and cheaper purchase and financing options, we see NFT-powered real estate transactions becoming very relevant for real estate investment."




Government documents


In today's predominantly cashless society, an old problem remains. The inconvenience that follows the loss of the wallet. No, not the cryptocurrency wallet (which would probably hurt just as much, if not more): we are talking about the actual physical wallet. Credit cards, debit cards, polaroid photos, all gone. But the loss that could burn the most in this case is the driver's license.


But what if getting a new one doesn't have to be so painful? This is exactly what led the Romanian government to develop an institutional NFT market. By allowing citizens to mine their official state documents and papers on the blockchain as NFTs, the Romanian government hopes to significantly reduce the amount of bureaucracy required to replace or update these documents. This is not the most exciting application of NFTs, but it could certainly make life much easier. Add to that the possibility of coining titles as NFTs, and the potential for simplifying the whole society would definitely gain credibility.




Gaming


The integration of NFTs offers players a way to keep all their achievements and assets across all games, regardless of platform. For now, however, mainstream game developers have yet to figure out how it all works and implement it.


How will it work, then? If a game implements blockchain technology in its suite of services, players will be able to actually store and own all their rewards, assets and collectibles in-game. Although platforms such as PlayStation and Xbox store players' in-game achievements across multiple generations of consoles, the same cannot be said for collectibles and skins earned in-game. The same is true for consoles launched before the online revolution that affected the seventh generation of consoles.


Player ownership, utility, interoperability, transferability. These are all things that people have proven to want for years. There are a few Metaversi and play to earn (P2E) companies like Worldwide Webb and Bigtime Game that are making great strides in this area, allowing users to use their nfts in their platforms, accumulating items and rewards during their gaming experience--isn't that great?

Bigger realities like GALA games and Sandbox are doing the same, but in order to make this concept mainstream it will require the help of the real blue chips in the industry, like Playstation or Epic Games.




Do you know of additional NFT utilities? Come let us know in our Discord server.

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