NFTS and the case for continuous learning
Most of us may have noticed the terms blockchain, NFTs, metaverse and so on appearing a lot in the media of late. So what exactly are Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)? And what relevance does this digital, sometimes virtual, world have to our very tangible brick-and-mortar Real Estate industry?
In order to understand NFTs, or even cryptocurrency, we first need to have a basic understanding of what blockchain is. Why? Because blockchain is the underlying digital foundation on which use-cases such as cryptocurrency, NFTs, Smart Contracts, etc. are built on.
IBM defines blockchain as “a shared, immutable ledger for recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network”.
Shared – meaning decentralized and residing across a network of public computer systems across the globe. Immutable – once a transaction is recorded, it cannot be modified or deleted. (This has special use case potential to our industry vis-à-vis transparency and traceability of land records). An asset can be tangible (car, house, land) or intangible (intellectual property, copyrights). Essentially, blockchains offer a new way of doing business where anything of value can be tracked or traded, where transactions are transparent, easily traceable, cost efficient and the entire system is trustworthy.
So, what exactly are NFTs? They are digital tokens issued on the blockchain where each token represents something that's unique i.e. non-fungible tokens. Currently most tokens are used to represent art or music, with each token certifying unique ownership of the product. NFTs are also being adopted to represent physical items in the real world, including in the real estate industry.
In February 2022, a house in Florida sold for $650k – it was sold as an NFT and the transaction was done in Ether, a form of cryptocurrency. In the completely virtual world of the metaverse, a plot of virtual real estate sold as an NFT for $4.3 Mn in Dec’21.
While the jury is still out on the long-term adoption of blockchain and its uses, what’s clear is that the world is moving to different ways of transacting and doing business. In this age of instant gratification, the new generation expect a home-buying process that is transparent, quick and efficient – the “one-click” culture reflective of the era they live in. Which brings us to the larger point on continuous learning – we as individuals and working professionals need to constantly update our knowledge and upskill ourselves, keeping in touch with the latest global and domestic trends.
While this is challenging given the pace of change of technology, it is important in the context of understanding our customers’ constantly changing needs and innovating for it. The large number of digitization initiatives embarked upon by the organization is in response to understanding some such recent customer needs. The successful implementation of these initiatives has demonstrated to us the competitive edge this can provide to the organization.
If we can succeed in staying ahead of the curve solving for our customers’ wants and needs, we will go a long way in ensuring the long-term success of our organization. And this cannot be achieved without continuous learning.
- Ram K H