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Geo-NFTs: Bridging physical world and metaverse

by Mike Popesku| Aventures DAO | Special issue for Avalanche Summit

NFTs in a nutshell

NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens represent unique digital assets with real-world value. They cannot be replicated which gives them a lot of utility in multiple contexts. NFTs can be used for various purposes, such as gaming, identity verification, art or property ownership. From the moment the first NFT (Quantum) was minted in 2014, the market cap grew to $41 billion, catching up with the fine art market in size.

Use cases

NFTs, as the building blocks to the metaverse, offer endless possibilities and applications and can be used to represent:

  • In-game and metaverse assets such as land, weapons, armour, game characters etc. These assets can have real-world value and can be traded on decentralized marketplaces.
  • Digital and physical artworks and collectibles in any possible format one can think. For example, the famous street artist Banksy minted an NFT of one of his paintings that was auctioned for $95,000
  • Identity documents, such as driver’s license, birth certificate, degree or passport. This is a critical use case because it can help to reduce fraud and increase security.
  • Full or fractional ownership of real-world property. The latter can be used to create more accessible and affordable investment opportunities.
  • Domain names allow their owners to claim exclusive ownership over a domain name, cutting out intermediaries.

Like real-world assets, NFTs can generate yield. Most yield-bearing NFT projects require holders to stake their NFTs on a selected platform to generate rewards (see examples).

Geo-NFT: A radically new NFT primitive

One of the most innovative applications in NFT space brought by the Lost Worlds project is location-based of geo-NFTs (gNFT). gNFTs are bound to a specific location and can be minted only if the user is present at a particular place and/or at a particular time. gNFTs can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

  • Bridging the real world and the metaverse (augmenting the real world with the metaverse content but only at specific locations) provides an easy way to access virtual world assets from the physical world.
  • Creating virtual world experiences tied to specific locations. For example, a user could visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris and experience and get hold of a slice of a virtual world based on that location.
  • Creating amplified experiences for businesses, events, and places.
  • Bringing together people, creating communities and clubs around shared experiences. Providing access/membership to specific communities.
  • Playing augmented reality games, being able to claim in-game items, be seen as a game character, complete metaverse game tasks/missions in real-world, fight bosses or other players only at specific physical locations.
  • Enabling retail and physical businesses to meet and engage with relevant audiences (inclusive of customers in metaverse)

Challenges for the gNFT

This promising gNFT technology is still in its infancy, and its success will not come with challenges and obstacles to overcome:

  • On a blockchain, manipulating transactions is nearly impossible due to the public ledger. To prevent spoofing, gNFTs will partially depend on off-chain technology to validate a wallet’s presence at a specific location. Beacons could be a potential solution. However, gNFT projects will have to ensure beacon presence and their correct functioning (and sometimes this could impose logistic and bureaucratic challenges)
  • gNFTs can only prove that a particular wallet (not the wallet owner per se) had visited a specific site to mint the token. We can imagine a project/competition that would require people to visit multiple sites and be the fastest in minting a set of gNFTs. Such competitions could be easily hacked by teams of people appearing on designated locations, all having access to the same wallet and minting a gNFT collection in no time.
  • Adoption is the biggest challenge for this project. As we’ve seen many times, great technology does not mean immediate success. For gNFT to take off, crypto has to lose its regular friction points so that more normies can join. On the other hand, getting talented creators to generate exciting and engaging stuff will be equally important to attract masses and businesses alike.

Overall, gNFTs are an exciting new development in the NFT space, and we can expect to see a lot of creative uses for them in the future.

About Dr Mihajlo (Mike) Popesku

Dr Popesku is a marketing scientist, tech entrepreneur, and crypto-evangelist. He is a co-founder and Chief Research Officer at Qudo, a London-based start-up with the mission to remove complexity from research by using artificial intelligence. With his colleagues at AVentures DAO, Dr Popesku supports and invests in early-stage crypto-projects native to Avalanche.

About AVentures

AVentures is an investment DAO composed of OG Avalanche community members on a mission to support the ecosystem. The team boasts multiple successful blockchain developers and project owners, content creators, advisors and domain experts that have come together to channel our expertise to support the Avalanche ecosystem.

AVentures DAO:

* Provides advisory and marketing support to new Avalanche projects
* Supports Avalanche projects by investing in seed/private rounds
* Incubates new projects via mentoring
* Publishes technical analysis on DeFi projects

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