Counterfeiting, piracy and copyright infringement are all big problems in the digital realm. Could turning products into NFTs help solve some of these issues?
Since bursting into mainstream consciousness in 2021 — and even being the subject of a parody on Saturday Night Live — nonfungible tokens have become best known for serving as a vehicle for digital art.
Although this application is revolutionary in itself, many crypto enthusiasts believe the industry is only scratching the surface when it comes to developing compelling use cases for NFTs.
One of the biggest challenges when buying and selling goods in an online era concerns authenticity — and in recent years, several luxury brands have been exploring whether blockchain technology could help clamp down on counterfeiting. As the journalist Tim Phillips wrote in his book Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods, copycat versions of practically anything can be manufactured… including prescription drugs and car parts.
This isn’t a problem that’s restricted to physical products, as digital items have their own host of issues to contend with. Given how easily information can be disseminated online, creators are facing an uphill struggle when it comes to protecting their copyright. Photographs that can be worth thousands of dollars to license can be copied, pasted and redistributed by anyone in a few clicks — depriving the creator of revenue — with little consequence.
And even though the advent of streaming services has helped tackle some lingering concerns about piracy, it isn’t an issue that’s gone away entirely. Estimates from the Global Innovation Policy Center suggest that, in 2019, illegal views of movies and TV shows resulted in the loss of $29.2 billion in revenue, and that was just in the U.S.
Software piracy also remains a lingering issue, with free versions of flagship software from the likes of Microsoft and Adobe doing the rounds in the darkest corners of the internet. Not only can this deprive businesses of the revenue they need to innovate, but there can also be a cost to users considering these files can often be addled with malware.
Meanwhile, influencers and artists can face another big problem: Their work being ripped off by social media users who then pass it off as their own.
Taking back control
Piracy and counterfeiting may very well be issues that take generations to solve. But as our world becomes increasingly digital, NFTs can serve as a valuable weapon in the quest for authenticity. Many law-abiding consumers end up coming into contact with fake items and bootlegged content without even knowing it — and that’s because many online shopping systems fail to provide customers with clear proof of ownership. This can have a knock-on effect should that person want to sell an item to someone else in the future.
Uquid has developed a new protocol known as NFTD — a smart supermarket system for digital products that’s powered by nonfungible tokens. Every seller in this marketplace, as well as the items they have to offer, are identified through the use of unique token IDs, with buyers receiving verification of their ownership as soon as a transaction is completed.
A vast array of items can be sold through this marketplace, including poetry, novels, movies, videos, photographs and sound recordings. Other digital products, including computer software, anti-virus protection, games, top-up subscriptions and gift cards are also available. An array of cryptocurrencies can be used to make a purchase, along with the DeFi payment methods that are already supported by the Uquid system.
Uquid’s approach could also inject certainty into the process of buying gift cards online — an experience that can otherwise be fraught with risk.
Simplifying the process
One of the platform’s top priorities is also ensuring that NFTs are easy to use for consumers. The world of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens can sometimes be exceedingly difficult for newcomers to get their heads around, as evidenced by how Kings of Leon had to extend the sales window for their new tokenized album.
To make a purchase, a buyer simply needs to ensure that they have a Uquid account — and from here, the process will be exceedingly familiar for anyone who has used an online e-commerce platform before. No fees are attached to these initial purchases.
From here, users have the freedom to resell these digital assets whenever they like, and list them for sale at their desired price. Subsequent transactions will attract a sales fee.
The NFTD protocol is fueled by Uquid, a utility token on the Binance Smart Chain. Those working on the project say this blockchain delivers low transaction fees and high performance thanks to how the network is capable of producing a block every three seconds.
With a fully functional platform now live, the crypto-powered brand now has its sights set on bringing NFTs closer to everyday life.