“One day, in the not-too-distant future, all businesses will run on NFTs.”
It’s a big and bold statement, one that many will shrug off as ridiculous. Sadly, those people are possibly from the same mould as those who mocked Bill Gates at the introduction of the Internet.
New technologies are often hard to perceive, and without complete understanding or a crystal ball, it’s challenging to see where they could lead us as life rolls forward.
Take my word for it; NFTs are big news. As entrepreneurs, we should pay close attention to the world they represent—both digital and real life.
I’ve always followed new technologies, especially in business. However, it wasn’t until my trip to NFT NYC that my perception of how the future will incorporate NFTs became so clear.
I met so many like-minded people, from those in their twenties to their fifties, ready and willing to build a better world on NFT technology. A highlight was meeting the incredibly talented Vera Li, @Veratheape, who is currently building ONE World—amongst other projects—that inspired me to want to build too.
The misconceptions behind NFTs
To the average Joe, press around NFTs shows how a pool of geeky investors are making millions of dollars, buying and selling peculiar little pictures. Much like those people saw Bitcoin as just another commodity to trade, NFTs appear to be an asset to buy and sell to make money, giving rise to things like Bitcoin Blockchain and more.
However, that’s far from the truth. The ‘pump and dump’ mentality is out there, but the real NFT investors are more akin to shareholders, getting in on the ground level of startups or business opportunities. Because of the way NFTs function, utilising automated processes and smart contracts, you’re buying far more than a single digital asset. You’re buying features, exclusive access to opportunities and items—you’re becoming part of that brand’s community, an active part of an interactive opportunity.
There are many misconceptions about what NFTs are, what they do, and how we can use them, so it’s no surprise that today’s society is split between those who get it and those who don’t.
With this article, hopefully, you’ll learn a little more about the beauty of NFTs and how one day they’ll make your business simpler, better, and more productive than ever.
Learning from the experts – by partnering with them
It will take time to grow, but the movement so far is swift, with plenty of big brands already taking advantage of this practice—read: practice, not fad—in the market.
An interview with Nizzar
With a history of fund management and investment and driven by the latest technologies, I was fortunate enough to meet with Nizzar Ben Chekroune, @TheNizzar and Julianna Cossa, @JuCossa and have worked closely with them as they construct the type of community platform the NFT world is going to thrive on, Nception.
With a history of fund management and investment and driven by the latest
technologies, I was fortunate enough to meet with Nizzar Ben Chekroune,
@TheNizzar and Julianna Cossa, @JuCossa and have worked closely with them as they construct
the type of community platform the NFT world is going to thrive on, Nception.
As an early investor and expert, Nizzar is eager to ‘give back’ by educating others to achieve success through NFTs.
His story is fascinating. From his early days exploring crypto—making his first investments in Bored Ape Yacht Club collections and following the progress of the industry and its key players—Nizzar is now a respected operator, expert, and speaker on the tech circuit.
I took some time to chat to him about his journey so far in the world of NFTs, and here’s what I learned.
J.H: Hi, Nizzar. Can you tell us a little about how you got into NFTs?
I started buying crypto in 2017 but paid little attention to NFTs until I heard Gary Vaynerchuck talking about how their perception would change completely by using the technology correctly and adding utility to them.
I completely understood his point, so I immediately minted my first ever NFT from his Veefriends collection for 0.7 eth. That led to buying a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for 0.17 eth in the secondary market platform, OpenSea.
The more I looked into NFT, the more connections I made with like-minded enthusiasts, typically through Twitter.
J.H: So, communication with other NFT buyers was central to your experience?
Yes. Absolutely. There were probably around 10k of us at that point—which explains why there were 10k NFTs in each collection. Through further exploration, I found subgroups of owners and private channels for the rarest or multiple ownerships. To access these groups meant being vetted by an existing owner, and that’s how I met Franklin Cadwell, one of the leading and influential Bored Ape collectors.
As I started to understand more about how adding utility to NFTs worked, it made collecting less like it was in the traditional art world and more like investing in a startup. As a result, you get more than just an image with a fluctuating value; you receive something far more involved and immersive, something that feels far more like a share in their business, creativity, and values.
J.H: You often talk about vision; would you like to expand on that?
With the help and guidance of Farokh (creator of Rug Radio), I was fortunate enough to add some Punk NFTs to my collection before they hit an unreachable eth height. They were the holy grail of their time, which made me a respected collector in the space—what’s known as a whale NFT.
At that point, I wanted to share my experience and vision and help others make it in the NFT space. My bag was growing, my investments were reaching fantastic heights, and I felt I had something to share with like-minded collectors.
Ultimately, I wanted people to see that it wasn’t a fad, that NFTs weren’t just a speculative tool but something with purpose and use, and that we could build a far better world on the technology.
I watched how, as NFT collectors, we talked and trusted each other, becoming connected through the idea of creating a better world. As a result, I’ve made lifetime friends in the NFT space, all driven by the possibility of shared wealth and happiness.
J.H: You’ve had incredible success choosing the most fruitful NFT investments. What makes the way you select your collections different?
We buy what we love. So we have a process, but ultimately it’s because we love what the founder or artist is aiming to achieve.
Objectively, we gather information about the founders, their history, their part in the NFT community, and how they behave. Then we explore their vision, what they’re building, and how creative they are. Finally, we look at their early adopters and buyers to ensure their fans are true believers; they’re the best advocates for the project and its sales, after all.
Subjectively, we want to feel empathy and nostalgia in their creations. If the art sparks emotion linked to a 25-year memory, we consider that a trigger. We believe nostalgia flows in 25-year waves, just as it does with music and fashion.
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When we find such artists, we want to invest in their growth within the community, building a utility for their art. We believe the next Picasso, Basquiat, Apollinaire, Mozart, and Tarantino are already out there and that they will develop in the NFT community first.
J.H: You’ve got some very exciting plans in NFT. Could you tell us a little more about them?
It would have been straightforward to build something focussing on collectables, but by exploring all the functionality of NFT technology, we’re building what we think will be the operational model for the web3 structure of tomorrow.
With Nception, we aim to bridge the virtual and real world.
It’s the first institutionalized digital asset management platform in virtual life (IVL), pioneering the application of blockchain and NFT technologies in real life (IRL). This will be the umbrella under which all our blockchain and NFT projects have a home and a space to live and grow.
So far, it includes a series of revolutionary projects designed to bridge the virtual and real world. To start, there are investable platforms, art, real estate, gaming, and collectables as you’d expect, but there will be much more as the community develops and brand new opportunities present themselves.
NFTs are ‘programmable computers’ that can modify the very structure of intermediation. We would say the main purpose is to replace middlemen with a perfectly trustworthy technology that allows immutable traceability, creating lifetime royalties on secondary sells.
We are built on a win, win, win octave rather than web2 models where it has clearly been a win, lose, win model.
What NFTs offer the entrepreneur that existing technology doesn’t
From my time and conversations with Nizzar, I’ve learned that NFTs aren’t any one practice performed within an asset but many:
- Brand marketing
- Digital art
- Virtual lands
- Digital identities
- Smart contracts
The part of NFTs that excites me is that they are programmable. As an entrepreneur, I lean on AI and automation wherever possible, freeing myself and my teams to do the real heavy lifting, growing the business, and leaving the day-to-day functions to robotic systems and operations.
Including smart contracts and automatic reactions within NFTs is how my business will change moving forward. One distinct advantage to every business operator and user is that they’ll deliver a means of direct peer-to-peer transactions, cutting out the middleman. This will reduce fees dramatically. As a result, more of your money will stay in your pocket. You’ll be saving on every service, payment, and transaction.
How NFTs assist entrepreneurs
Let’s look into our list to explore how those functions are already utilised.
Household names are already utilising NFTs as marketing. Buy a pair of trainers, an album, or any other item, and you don’t just get an NFT to prove their authenticity but also access to future promotions, additional merchandise, discounts and loyalty schemes.
An artist no longer sells a single image, song, or story. As an NFT, each digital or physical piece is authenticated on the blockchain, yet also, as with the marketing options, allows the owner to interact directly with the artist, becoming part of their community. This opportunity enables them to follow the direction and ideals of their chosen artist, assisting or interacting with their values.
NFT real estate, as a digital location, has all the aspects and opportunities of the same in the real world. It’s a world where you can visit social hubs, entertainment venues, buy and sell assets, rent locations, build on them, buy advertising and more. These spaces can be linked to their real-world counterparts or be a unique standalone environment.
One of the concerns in today’s society is that our data isn’t our own to protect. The beauty of crypto and the blockchain is that they give us our anonymity back. Despite every transaction being recorded and traceable, trading as an avatar with an authenticated PFP (profile picture), there’s very little the superpowers of Web2 can take without consent, as they once could.
As touched upon earlier, smart contracts will streamline the way we transact, with more advanced security than ever.
The way we interact with the things we buy, the movements we invest in, the brands we associate with, and the artists we follow will encourage our cultural education. With all material coming directly from its creators, we’re forging closer bonds between people and producers.
We spoke about how NFTs create bonds with artists and brands and the advantages of each product being far more than just the item. When it comes to funding, again, the investor puts his money—their cryptocurrency—towards the next project or movement each artist, musician, entrepreneur or brand is to develop. Each investment, as an NFT, will include a smart contract for what the brand will provide or give back—automatically—as the project develops.
Imagine how that would work for filmmakers, inventors, product designers, artists, company directors, and more.
And if you need to free up some cash? You can sell the NFT to whoever else might want it, transferring all the benefits and bonuses to them in a few quick clicks.
When is all of this going to happen?
The truth is, it’s already happening. Many will be slow to get on board, mainly through no fault of their own, apart from not having the time to educate themselves and keep up with the changes our digital world keeps projecting. You might not need to assemble a tech team to design your NFT contracts, automated services and operations just yet, but that time is coming.
To stay ahead of the curve, perhaps now’s the time to experiment, immersing yourself in the NFT market and making a few investments. It could be sooner than you think before others are investing in yours.
Who is Johan Hajji: Co-founder of UpperKey, Johan Hajji has been leading the way in iRenting for over a decade. What began as a startup has evolved into a multinational enterprise. Their mission is to revolutionize the property management industry through PropTech.
Johan is a also a Forbes Contributor and an NFT Collector.