Blockchain Developer. Quantum Enthusiast
2021 has seen the next-level digitization of art & entertainment on the blockchain. The non-fungible asset class (NFTs) started its journey in 2017. Back then, the 1st wave adopters were a handful of people, invested in projects like cryptopunks & cryptokitties.
Today NFTs have become an internet phenomena among investors of all age groups. Especially the younger generations are taking a deep interest into learning about trending, upcoming, and upgradable digital asset projects. There’s a good chance that you already own an NFT or know someone who does.
Images, videos, digital art, music - anything that can be rendered in a digital form - has been minted into unique NFTs on the blockchain. The NFT trend has brought over $2.5 billion in sales this year. A historical moment was made when a digital artwork was sold for $69 million as an NFT through an auction hosted by Christie’s.
The new wave of adoption currently has major backing from celebrities across various industries.
Right now, the market for NFTs is as speculative as any other new digital asset. Here, the motivation is to obtain something unique from the crypto world and have the conviction of getting it appraised to a higher value in the future. NFTs are limited to an experience of ownership and being tradable, while proper use cases beyond that are being researched by communities.
NFTs are powered by smart contracts on the blockchain. A good number of developers are busy solving gas reduction, network throttle problems to have an affordable and better experience with NFT smart contracts, while many are figuring out ways to make NFTs a form of utility asset. One of the considerable approaches for that is to draw gamification ideas with reward- based incentive systems.
Traditional NFTs have a media associated with them which doesn’t alter under any circumstances. What if these media had a connection to real-world events? What if they had updates based on what the holder is doing in real-world events?
With suitable alterations to the traditional ERC-721 contracts, it’s possible to build such fun engagements and use-cases for holders.
An upgradable NFT is a non-static digital asset, that responds to certain events or triggers, either on-chain or off-chain, leading to a secure update of asset media records.
This encapsulates the central idea behind Upgradable NFTs. In the real world, there’re several mainstream scenarios where NFTs can be leveraged for daily use-cases; this will bring a mature audience and acceptance of NFTs as a pivotal technology across industries.
The core trigger for upgrades on such NFTs can be external data sources provided via oracles or initiated by contract administrators or some random on-contract data payload. Based on the required outcome, NFT contracts transition their metadata & associated media content, properties to reflect a new state. But here I won’t go into much detail on the technical aspect for today.
Some genuine use cases where upgradable NFTs can shine are:
🎟️ Event Tickets
Collectors have filled their scrapbooks with concerts, conference physical tickets for years. They’re valuable memorabilias of life events.
NFT-based concert tickets can not only become a memento but also a Proof of Attendance through upgradable NFTs. When someone attends and verifies attendance at the event location, their ticket media can reflect a memorable autograph from the artists/performer. Providing incentive to people for actually being a part of the event. The event organizers can also issue tier based upgrades based on engagement rate.
🥘 Food Safety Certification
Restaurants can be issued clearance certificates as NFTs. The NFT will be dedicated to a particular location & branch from the relevant food safety authorities. These NFTs will not only manage data on an immutable blockchain, but will also track upgrades and changes made to a certification tier in future inspections and reviews. Mitigating any internal corruption as well. So if your local dinner went from a “C” to a “B”, that might be flashed on the digital screen in the restaurant as a cool NFT.
🏆 Marathon Records
I have friends who love to run marathons. Whenever they’re in new cities, they try to find a marathon event through some event listing platform. Such platforms usually list events across cities and regions. A dedicated participant can be a proud owner of an NFT issued by the platforms, which will reflect his participation and performance records in real-time with updates. For example, if you just completed your 50th marathon, your NFT gets a special tier upgrade, which builds your community reputation.
Participants can proudly share their achievements through a dazzling marathon NFT, a testament to their athletic spirit.
Intellectual Properties(IP) being registered & documented on-chain helps resolve future disputes on authorization rights. NFTs have an opportunity to build a market here for being easy to maintain and quickly transferable. Also when we add the upgradable nature, it can have extensible benefits to make a token that can represent complex ownership relations. IP issuance bodies can provide alterations needed to the doctrine linked with the NFT.
Your own unique ideas and terms of execution can create a different utility scenario, the possibilities are endless. Sports, entertainment, education, research, governance - across domains, NFTs have the potential to become something substantial and beneficial for broader societal needs. But for that, we have to weigh in and identify pain points to solve and improve the current structure of institutions around. Driving engagements and involving holders in the process through upgradable NFTs will definitely open doors towards decentralization.
The idea of making NFTs upgradable is experimental. There are no standard contracts or EIPs in the process. But as a developer, we always find ways to improve the existing resources.
In the coming days, I’ll write a tutorial on how a basic Upgradable NFT contract can be created and you can use it for your dApp.
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