RECAP: NFT-ization of the real world: What, why and how?
A recap of the panel discussion
RECAP: PANEL DISCUSSION: NFT-ization of the real world: What, why, and how?
August 15, Bholdus kicked off our panel discussion on NFT-ization of the real world. Our advisor, Brent Hovland - General Manager of Dish Network moderated the discussion alongside panelists Andrew Fai - DeStation Founder and Ronald Le - Bholdus Founder & CEO.
The discussion began with defining NFT and the reason for its popularity in the finance world. Ronald highlighted that NFT is about unique asset ownership on the blockchain which is identified with immutable records. Due to unfair manual work processes, NFT helps the originator claim their own assets and ownerships while publicizing them to the world, thus leading to more sustainability and transparency. Meanwhile, Andrew took it deeper into the history of NFTs with a flashback to 2017 when blockchain went viral, CryptoPunks saw this need for non-fungible tokens and figured out that digital scarcity was recorded on the blockchain, thus they tweaked the ERC-20 contracts, creating the first form of NFT and NFT standard, which was known as the ERC-721. Later, CryptoKitties pioneered and pushed forward the adoption of ERC-721 and up to now, we have seen blossoming use cases of NFTs and they came about with various challenges. In general, NFT serves as digital certificate ownership that represents scarcity on the blockchain and is fileable, allowing users to trace who the original creator is and where the digital file is stored at.
About the key uses of NFT, Andrew added that most NFT innovations are happening in games today, with renowned use cases of Axie Infinity and CryptoKitties who brought the concept of play to earn, available to the masses. He believed that different utilities of NFT are coming about, as the game is at the forefront of all, the next phases will be more likely to witness a turn to governance and DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) when owning an NFT allows one to join in memberships and voting processes. Ronald confirmed Andrew’s point on NFT for games, highlighting that back in 2008, the early adopters of bitcoin were actually gamers. He further shared Bholdus’ vision on developing a future generation like Axie which is also developed by Vietnamese, with a strong focus on use cases of NFT for games, music, movies, books, and education.
The next part of the panel discussion focused on the mainstream adoption of NFT which is yet a fresh idea. Andrew suggested that massive adoption would happen when Apple, Android has a built-in crypto wallet across all devices. He mentioned the activation of Web 3.0 where the Internet is connected with blockchain and the key adoption is a crypto wallet, e.g MetaMask, Trust Wallet, etc. Essentially, one will be using a wallet or NFT to sign in rather than using an account or multiple values and services, etc. Thus, NFT will act as an account, an identity, and a key to unlimited possibilities. From Andrew’s allusion, Ronald added that NFT could really change the way to redefine numerous traditional legacy banking terms for better privacy and security. He believed that there was huge room to grow for blockchain in emerging markets. Turkey - where East meets West - particularly fascinates Ronald, as it is one of the largest cryptocurrency markets. In addition, he also pays attention to SEA, Peru, India, China, etc. with high rates of unbanked population, while considering Europe and the US as crypto custodian service banks, for storing the assets. Having lived in Turkey and the Philippines for years, Brent confirmed Ronald’s point whereas he witnessed not only trust challenges for banks but also inflation of the currency, accordingly, NFT would bring about more security of asset value.
Regarding trust and ensuring immutability between real-world assets and NFT, Ronald highlighted that everything is recorded and the blockchain is public, any kind of transaction stored on this blockchain is immutable. Furthermore, rules have been set on smart contracts and there is a record for when and why changes happen. Brent further noted that companies are utilizing blockchain for tracking which has propelled NFT as trustworthy and secure, with use cases of Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and various food manufacturers in the US and globally.
Questions arise on the near-term win of NFT and hurdles for its long-term success. Andrew emphasized that changes would start with a wider understanding of NFT benefits, in contrast to a non-NFT approach. He believed that one needed to own a collectible to participate in a service, similar to Stoner Cats which was the initial NFT evolution of entertainment in the future. The next big word people would be talking about in NFT is Web 3.0 when we interlace blockchain assets with everyday Internet. Long-term success would happen with onboarding Web 3.0 developers, entertainers, artists to spearhead these Web 3.0 features that we are seeing a little eclipse today.
Adding to Andrew’s aspects, Ronald suggested that NFT related to digital services would still remain a trend in the next 3 years. He emphasized the next revolution of social media, directly competing with Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok. With the unfair structure of the fiat currency and micropayments for content creators, cryptocurrency and NFT have to come along to create a sense of ownership. A culturalist approach to NFT products needs to be in place, as USD 50 per 1 asset may sound small but it can mean something to people in Africa or in rural areas of Vietnam, we can save a lot of lives and help build small businesses. He believed that Bholdus still has a lot of room to grow in the cryptocurrency world, and besides technology, we have to constantly improve, build a sustainable ecosystem, and take care of our community.
Regarding the accessibility to NFT, Andrew emphasized that having the Internet would be sufficient, either a hot wallet provider or your own hot wallet solution would be able to enable verification to sign in to access these services. Brent further highlighted how accessible this technology can be, despite the challenges in cryptocurrency, transferring funds, and associated fees. However, the exciting part about this technology is its accessibility, users do not have to live in certain developed countries, they could be out in the rural areas and still leverage this. Brent was really fascinated by the evolution of value and lifestyle accompanied by this global NFT hype.
This technology has a global impact, and blockchain companies as well as Bholdus are starting to employ people from around the world. Regarding questions on how Bholdus is managing the encountering challenges, Ronald shared that the hiring process is the root of everything. Starting from Day 1, he wanted to build a global organization and spent a large amount of time in hiring and assessment. Ronald highly valued employees’ interest, trust, enthusiasm, and particularly chemistry, as there is no politics in the organization. He always aims to create rooms for growth, new knowledge, and care, in order to disrupt the world together.
Continuing on global operations, Andrew noted that crypto by nature is global, and people doing crypto businesses are international from Day 1, there is no limitation to this. He believed that a great leader's main job is to lay down the vision clearly and measurably, for the company level, department, project, and individual level. In addition, a system of operation management needs to be in place for documents, processes, procedures, and SOP. With a strong belief in the motto “hire slowly, fire quickly”, at the end of the day it revolves around how you run the business, how you manage and hire. Brent closed out this section by expressing his excitement on the fact that NFT all comes down to human innovation and passion to solve the world’s challenges.
Moving forward to the Q&A section regarding what makes a Dapp and blockchain project outstanding above others, Andrew emphasized developer support, in both open source and closed source tag. With open-source, a strong developer community is a strong indicator of whether it is the blockchain network you should build on. Vice versa, closed sources that are more centralized blockchain networks require very centralized reviews for all deployment on mainnet. Those depend on the level of support of the ecosystem providers. Meanwhile, Ronald highlighted that there are still limited numbers of qualified and sustainable projects, with a huge gap in mainstream adoption. Thus, a blockchain project needs to build a scalable product with the best user experience, this would be supported by various tools and infrastructure in the backend and smooth operation on the frontend. Additionally, fintech needs to look deep into the tokenomics of the business. The success of a long-term project lies in the actual percentage of tokens that the team is owning. For Bholdus, the team owns 15% of the total supply which spreads out through years. He further added the importance of lockup periods, smart contracts, division of different segments, ecosystem, tech innovation, and the dedication of certain percentages for marketing, community, compliance, advisory, core team, and tech innovation team.
In regards to questions on tokenizing or utilizing NFT for physical assets like legal paperwork, financial statements, academic degrees, etc., Ronald suggested that there should be a cooperation of the issuance’s CRM system on the user interface and Bholdus’ blockchain on the backend. The whole system needs to be interconnected and interoperable. They also need to understand the compliance, legal frameworks, and then would be able to define how many stakeholders in the entire chain to build that solution.
Towards the end of the discussion, the panelists shared their last thoughts on NFT-ization of the real world. Andrew strongly recommended the audience pick up their first NFT as we are currently witnessing some remarkable digital evolution. As for Bholdus founder, Ronald shared his ambitions on helping people get into the NFT world where they would have access to tremendous opportunities for digital finance as well as acknowledging their talents to make a decent income. As long as there is an Internet, people can achieve their dreams by doing works related to NFTs and digital currencies.
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