In this article, I’ll explore the concept of how a coffee shop could use NFT utility to expand its reach into the metaverse creating an immersive experience for coffee lovers all over the world. With the NFT industry establishing its foothold, more use cases are popping up. Art has been at the forefront of adoption and has made the news regarding astronomical prices. Utility NFTs are silently creeping their way into participants’ minds as Web3 becomes web today.
I was highly excited as an artist by the tsunami that rushed past us regarding NFTs. Initially very unaware of what they were and why anyone would want to buy an NFT, I didn’t see the forest through the trees. Not until I started to take a deep dive into space. Layer upon layer.
Throughout my career, I’ve had a knack for comprehending and simplifying. Within the context of NFTs, it took me a little bit to see the truth. That truth, there is a wave yet to break the surface.
That wave includes Web3, decentralized apps (dApps), and the rise of the metaverse.
Like an anchor to a boat, tied to that wave are NFTs. But it’s not the NFT we know, nor is it the art we’re seeing that’s important. What’s inside the container is where the real value lies. If then the art doesn’t matter, what does?
The NFT utility associated with the token.
Table of Contents
What’s NFT utility?
For brevity, an NFT or non-fungible token is not as easily exchangeable. A mutually identical item can’t be easily replaced because it’s typically unique. Think of a container full of coffee beans. One container might be from India, and another container from Brazil. Each is an individual item and not exact replicas of one another. Therefore they are technically non-fungible tokens.
The coffee inside the containers represents data. While the container itself is the non-fungible token. The data typically points to a location where specific stuff is located. That stuff can be anything. Which makes all of this hard to understand. It’s an abstract concept that’s so plainly simple it’s complex. Due to its complexities, it’s hard to grasp the number of possibilities.
Analysis paralysis, information overload, frying the circuits. All the above.
When we understand the root, it’s easier to digest use cases and applications. This is also why NFT utility is a vast topic. Thanks to the insight of a fellow technologist 😉 ✡️, I was able to see this clearer and fully develop the mental model in my head. I created an image that allowed me to understand how in-game economies, when abstracted, are perfect reference points for grasping how to move past art and into innovation.
What’s this NFT utility I mentioned?
You’re probably already familiar with it but haven’t put meaning to terms. NFT utility refers to the specifics associated with a token. While Utility NFTs are things like domain names and social media handles. However, they’re sort of similar. An NFT can have attached utility features that might allow a ticket holder specific access with the former. For example, I read a lot. Think and Grow Rich is a book I’m no stranger to. In that book, they talk about a mastermind group.
In most cases, it’s hard to come across like-minded individuals in the same area. Therefore as someone pumped about crypto, an individual looking to grow, and a desire to build a business relating to crypto, it makes sense to develop a community like Crypto Creators Club. However, what if I made it so you can’t just click a link and join.
To join the Crypto Creators Club, you’ll first have to be part of the loop, then you’ll have to buy an NFT. The circle might be Twitter. Let’s say the NFT is the key. That key has a unique hashcode stored in the unlockable content. That hash points to a website where your key can be used to unlock a door, like a password. The door opens with the correct key, and a link is provided to the Discord server. Once you arrive at the server, you’ll be authorized and supplied with final instructions on how to redeem a welcoming kit.
When we roll this back a bit, we can see that the NFT utility, as fren said, is clutch.
Meaning the value in buying an NFT, in this case, grants access to a club of like-minded innovators. As part of gaining access, goodies and gifts are added to the overall experience. It’s similar to when you buy a ticket to a concert; you gain access to a memorable performance and walk away with life-changing memories.
Same idea. Therefore utility is an experience like user experience … 👋. Taking my artist hat off, I place my product designer hat on.
Coffee, NFT utility, and the metaverse
Expanding consciousness is the transcendence from one dimension to the next or gaining more knowledge about a topic. A mentor once told me that it’s hard to see all angles when you hold something too close. When you look at it from a distance, the picture becomes more apparent. A chance conversation cleared up a foggy image in my mind. In reaching this particular plane, I’ve been able to step away from my initial bias and further my stronghold.
Looking at NFTs as an experience allows me to see how this technology can be used.
Since I’m a self-proclaimed coffee addict, I frequent coffee shops (two-words 😜). I had a conversation with the owners of Chik Monk coffee here in Palm Beach. In doing so, we chatted a fair bit about crypto. In leaving, I thought more of what we spoke about and a practical NFT use case. Leading me to believe that idea could be applied to many different businesses.
Big box corpo demon companies, I won’t be mad if you take this idea and use it without me. I’ll be hurt . I would love to art direct or help. That would be killer.
The problem is that coffee is outstanding, and many people do not know this. Not just any coffee, though.
A delicious coffee you get from a local roaster that is ethically sourced and adequately treated.
The difference between purchasing a tailored and ready-wear garment is that the tailored garment is much more costly and requires a bit of education to understand the value. While the ready-wear outfit can be picked off a shelf and put on.
With coffee, it’s very similar. A lot goes into growing, manufacturing, producing, shipping, roasting, and brewing. It’s a fairly extensive process that, to truly be appreciated, needs to be experienced.
In latching onto that single problem, we can begin to theorize what an immersive experience might look like. One that lets a coffee shop transcend the physical world and break new barriers by entering the metaverse.
A particular population is driven to coffee, and one is driven towards tech. Ofen, they intercede. Coffee has fueled many hours of design. The blending of the two can meet far beyond just a cup of joe. There’s also a chance for new markets to gain exposure to coffee since younger generations are more inclined to be fascinated with technology.
Where moving to the metaverse
A coffee shop like Chik Monk, which has a farm in India, could purchase land in the metaverse. Sites like Decentraland or Sandbox could be places to start. From there, they could replicate a storefront, the farm, and manufacturing facilities. Both the store and manufacturing facilities could be an immersive experience that educates users on all the parts that go into the coffee.
Let’s say I enter the metaverse and head over to Chik Monk. While there, I pop into the coffee shop. Since I can interact with people in the metaverse, I can say what’s up if someone is there. If not, I can browse the shop, look at products, read literature about the company, and so forth. I could even get a virtual coffee.
If I wanted to buy some beans and get them shipped to my house, I could grab them off the shelf and checkout. What if I head on over to the farm and meet the growers.
They just so happen to be in the metaverse today because they’re giving a lecture on how their pesticide-free growing process produces the finest coffee known to man.
Let’s assume that Chik Monk used the NFT utility model outlined in the Crypto Creators Club membership process. The people in the lecture were part of a DAO that supported independent coffee roasters all over India. The trade secrets being gold. The only way they had access was through buying an NFT that served as a ticket.
You might wonder the real value here for Chik Monk or a company that could afford an experience like this, and I’d first argue experience.
When you think about what people are after in life, experiences are generally at the core. Whether it be couture fashion or pixel jpegs, there’s an experience attached and a feeling that resides. In the case of immersive experiences like those mentioned earlier, it places a heavier impact on the users psychologically. This, in turn, creates a much more significant impact.
Dark arts, wizardry. Ohhh.
There are probably one million holes that could be poked into my theories here but let’s continue the journey.
Recapping quickly. I’ve crossed over into the Matrix; I’m now wandering about cyberspace from the comforts of my home. I’ve popped into the shop to say what’s up, get some coffee, both virtual and shipped (e-comm baby leggo); after that, I putzed on over to the farm where I saw a lecture was going on. Questioning what the heck, I see that if I had an NFT, I’d have gotten the utility attached, but I couldn’t have unless I were part of a DAO.
In wandering around the manufacturing facility, I learn about the process of how the coffee goes from farm to cup. I also see how harsh the coffee industry can be.
This sparks a new awareness. This awareness piques a curiosity that leads me to inquire further about the event. I learned that it was a group of farmers learning from the OG, an event held for guild members. The guild is a coalition of farmers that have joined together to create a solid and sustainable industry that can support the lives of those involved.
I realize that even though I’m not a coffee grower in India, I can still be a part of the DAO by buying into the organization based on a particular membership role. The different functions are for varying levels of membership. Sort of like a tiered rewards system. When buying into the DAO, I essentially buy into an economy and gain “in-economy” currency. The currency is used to exchange goods, services, store value, etc.
How the DAO decides to allocate funds can determine which assets they hold on their books. You see, a DAO is literally a headless organization run like a corporation where the entire community can vote on what happens, including the spending of funds.
So we went from simply purchasing an NFT and understanding utility to seeing that we can create a fully immersive and educational experience using modern technology. Further leading us down a path that can drive social change and that the real value in an NFT is the utility attached to the token itself. The artwork is a bonus unless there is added value in owning it, such as wearables or in-world items.
The initial NFT served as a gateway to an experience. That experience enlightens people on coffee, creates a fun and lasting memory, opens up a company to a broader audience, brings awareness to social causes, and generates new revenues streams and private economies within a group of people.
These mini-worlds, if you will, live within and alongside our world … sort of like parallel universes. To create this experience, an overall direction would need to be set. Then a team of many would need to form to properly structure and execute the vision.
In saying all that, with a little more thought, I think that any company could apply this type of immerse approach to how they feel about interacting with their audiences.
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