NFTs and AR/VR technologies share a symbiotic relationship. Here’s how they can help each other grow and enhance user experience.
NFTs have emerged as a new form of value in a very short time. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, and like cryptocurrency, it is an application of blockchain technology. However, unlike cryptocurrencies, each NFT is unique and cannot be replaced by another NFT.
Their uniqueness and non-fungibility make them suitable for tokenizing physical and IP (intellectual property) assets and documents. Moreover, this tokenized ownership, powered by blockchain, is secure and immutable.
In a world where upcoming technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are accelerating the rise of immersive experiences in 3D virtual worlds, NFTs can play an important role in securing the ownership of unique assets. AR and VR present a powerful use case for NFTs that can increase their growth and adoption manifold.
To understand how they can redefine the NFT space, let us first understand these technologies and the use cases.
Virtual Reality is an immersive three-dimensional computer-generated experience that could be based on real-life or be completely different from it. Users require special glasses, headsets, gloves, and bodysuits to access VR environments, and they can often interact with the components within them.
Several games, such as Beat Saber, Half-Life: Alyx, and Skyrim VR, have introduced this technology to the world. But, gaming is just one of the many use cases of VR. The technology can potentially transform various sectors, including education and training, healthcare, real estate, tourism, and entertainment.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a real-world experience that has been augmented by digital content (images, text, audio, etc.) superimposed on the real-life environment. One can usually access AR through devices like smartphones and tablets.
Snapchat is among the most widely used AR apps across the globe that transforms users’ Reality with different lenses.
AR/VR is transforming the way consumers interact with products and services. For example, they are making it easier to “try” products before buying them.
Furniture brands like Ikea and Home Depot allow users to place furniture in real locations to get a realistic idea of how it will look in their homes and workspaces.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist app and ModiFace enables users to see how products will look on their face with the help of their phone’s camera.
Gucci also launched an AR experience for its customers by enabling them to virtually “try on” their sneakers before purchasing them. As a result, the brand is also among the first movers in the digital fashion space.
It released “virtual sneakers” for $17.99 on its app, which could only be worn and shared digitally, promoting “digital fashion.” The value of digital fashion lies in its ability to enable users to access high fashion brands at affordable prices.
The current market capitalization of NFTs stands at over $10 Bn, and they are being used mostly for tokenizing digital art. However, other emerging use cases of NFTs include the sale and purchase of digital land in metaverses.
Despite all the hype, the concept of an immersive 3D metaverse, replete with all the details and dynamics of the real-life environment, is just plain theory.
Apart from digital art, NFTs are yet to be utilized in a manner that can pique the interest of the masses and bolster their adoption.
AR/VR Gaming is emerging as one of the areas in which NFTs can significantly contribute value. In AR/VR gaming, NFTs can be used to tokenize exclusive in-game assets and skins that players can use to step up their game and stand out among other gamers. Gods Unchained and DeFi Kingdoms are already using NFTs to provide exclusive assets to players.
Virtual Reality events are becoming a thing. Musicians like Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have performed in VR concerts. Scott’s concert had over 12 million live viewers, and Grande’s concert even more as the concert took place over several days.
In the future, VR events will only get bigger and more varied. In such events, NFTs can be utilized as tickets for gaining access to the event, and after the concert, they can act as imperishable digital souvenirs.
NFTs, combined with AR, can also be used as an innovative proof of ownership for physical assets such as luxury goods. For example, instead of attaching QR codes that open up to boring textual pages on apps and websites as proof of authenticity of the product, customers can be given NFTs corresponding to their purchases of exclusive luxury products.
These NFTs can be used for unlocking AR experiences on the native apps of the brands, such as superimposing the product digitally on the user via the camera to prove its authenticity.
Thus, AR/VR technologies and NFTs can enhance user experience in ways that will help more people see value in them and drive their adoption, leading to more robust digital economies.