YOUR FANS. YOUR PLATFORM.
That’s our product’s claim. It’s our strong conviction that nobody should be solely relying on the big social media platforms when it comes to their digital fan relationship. Having ownership over your platform, your fan relationship, your data, and eventually your business has turned into a critical success factor.
This thinking also represents the premise for how we build our NFT solution. As a module on Unyfy, it gives creators, athletes, and rightsholders an easy-to-use toolkit to engage their fans in novel ways with scarce digital items.
Now, allow me to drop the curtain and show you what we built.
uNFTs: Bringing more Utility and UX to NFTs
The current iteration of NFTs has created a lot of hype. There a several interesting emerging use cases. In some realms, such as digital art, the experiences are already pretty good. In other domains, we are still at an earlier stage. That’s why I think it’s fair to claim:
Outside the crypto/NFT community, NFTs are still looking for product-market-fit.
But several projects, including ours, are working hard to bring the next generation of NFTs to life. One important class that we see currently emerging are Utility NFTs or uNFTs in short. Those will enable much more engaging user experiences — users will be able to do much more with their NFTs.
Here, I want to focus on our specific approach. Given that Unyfy is not yet another marketplace for NFTs but rather a feature-rich interactive and social environment (I sometimes refer to it as the Shopify of fan engagement) we think that we are very well positioned to deliver a next-generation user experience utilizing NFTs.
Creating the Social Layer of Collectibles
Why do people collect things? There are many reasons and the answer is most likely context-dependent. Some art collectors, for instance, buy art as an investment, others collect pieces they genuinely love.
When you think about the traditionally popular collectibles in the world of sports, such as trading cards in the US or Panini stickers in Europe, a strong social component drove their popularity.
When I was a kid, I took my sticker booklet to the schoolyard where my friends and I exchanged about the players we already “owned” or missed, discussed whether we would complete this season’s collection, and traded cards to support each other. And once we possessed more than one copy of our favorite players (Mehmet Scholl, anyone?!), we stuck them on visible places such as our schoolbags. This way we showcased our allegiance and taste to the rest of the world. The stickers became a social signal.
But how can this social collecting look like in the digital world? How will people discuss their stars? How will they signal their affiliations? What kind of things will people want to collect in a time where big parts of our life and social activities have moved online? Those are the questions we set out to answer when we started building our uNFT module for Unyfy.
Luckily, Unyfy already had a lot of the social goodness in place when we started developing. The platform sports user profiles, user-generated content, groups, and other interactive modules such as fan proposals or ideation missions.
This foundation allowed us to design an NFT experience that is geared towards fan interaction and creating a social universe in which fans can use the NFTs.
So let me tell you some of the things users can or will soon be able to do with their NFTs:
NFT Stickers: Fans can use their NFTs within all their content on the platform. It feels similar to how some messengers integrate stickers or gifs, except that fans have to own an NFT in order to be able to use it. This gives them a cool new way to communicate and interact with other fans — and NFT creators have a great new playing field to explore.
NFT Profile Badges: Fans can choose to display their NFTs on their public profile in the community. It is somewhat comparable to achievement or badges systems you find in various games and apps. Do you think your super fans would be proud to showcase the unique NFT they have? Or the one you gave exclusively to the first users who registered? I surely do.
NFT Avatars: Users can select their favorite NFT as a permanent companion of their profile picture. The NFT essentially becomes an important part of the user’s identity on your platform.
These are only a few of the options that Unyfy’s NFT module offers. There’s more to come over the next weeks and months.
Exclusive Access with NFTs
Another development is the rise of NFTs that give their owners access to exclusive perks and experiences. Those range from NFTs that function as tickets to access rights to dedicated communities. When building our NFT module, we wanted to leverage the fact that Unyfy already had a lot of publishing, social, and participation features. NFTs were a natural extension to those. Here are just a few of the things that you can easily do:
- Give holders of specific NFTs access to exclusive content
- Allow holders of specific NFTs to participate in dedicated ask-me-anythings, ideation missions, and other fan interactions
- Grant holders of certain NFTs free access to a subscription
Of course, you can also include access to physical events and other offline perks as well.
uNFTs for Platform Hosts
Let’s look at our uNFTs from the side of a platform host (that’s how we call our clients who use Unyfy to run their fan community.). We aim to make uNFTs as easy and useful as possible for them. Besides ease of use, we also wanted to build the most versatile instrument so that they can offer their fans exactly the experience they want.
Easy Minting: Create NFTs in less than a minute
The first step with every NFT is minting, i.e. the creation of an NFT. Our NFT Creator is so simple, that it literally only takes a minute to turn your media asset into an NFT. See for yourself:
For the more technical-minded among you: NFTs are initially created on the LT Mainnet, an Etherum-based and fully compatible sidechain. Fans can connect their own Metamask wallet if they want and will be able to transfer their NFTs to the Ethereum mainnet as well.
NFT Reward Drops Made Easy
There are many ways how you can distribute an NFT. Of course, we will support multiple commercial distribution mechanisms, including fixed-price sales, auctions, and selling packs with randomized contents. But when talking to our clients, we realized that there was another need: being able to reward your fans with collectibles.
That’s why we made it very simple to create your own NFT reward drops with our NFT Giveaway Creator. You can select from a myriad of user actions — for example signing up, opening the app, posting a comment, participating in a voting, subscribing, and many more — and create an NFT drop to reward those. You can also send events from your own app, for instance when a user buys something in your shop or visits your stadium.
You can easily create and automate scenarios such as:
- every user who logs in/signs up during this month, gets a free NFT
- users who participate in a voting have the chance to receive an NFT
- all subscribers get one free NFT per month
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible with our NFT drop feature.
Sponsorship Activations with NFTs
This leads directly to the last feature I want to introduce today: Sponsored NFTs. We have talked to many sports organizations, athletes, and advertisers and all are very interested in what NFTs bring to the table. And many of them were very interested in developing new creative campaigns and activations with NFTs. So we build Sponsored NFTs.
There are various ways to integrate sponsors into your NFT activities:
- Sponsored NFTs: The entire collectible is sponsored. An ideal tool to showcase brands and products. Call-to-action elements enable cross-channel campaigns or even NFT vouchers.
- Sponsored NFT Drops: The user receives an NFT from the platform host’s collection, presented by a sponsor. A very rewarding brand/fan interaction.
- Sponsored Collections: Instead of an individual token, a sponsor can also present an entire collection of NFTs. That allows brands to engage fan audiences in an exciting, gamified manner.
Combined with our other advertising and activation tools we built for Sponsored Tokens, platform hosts can now connect their partners and fans in various engaging ways.
NFTs will be integrated into increasingly sophisticated user experiences. I anticipate a lot of tinkering and innovation over the next couple of years. Our bet is that engagement, utility, and social context will be important to drive adoption by mainstream users. There will be other viable and useful approaches as well and I’m excited to see them come to life. (And given that the blockchain world is based on open standards, we would be happy to interoperate with them.)