Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been making inroads into the world of travel for a while. In March, online travel company MakeMyTrip had launched NFTs of popular destinations in India. The idea was for travellers to own digital collectibles of their favourite destinations, the company had said.
Several entities in the hospitality space have forayed into the world of NFTs. For instance, Singapore-based LynKey is digitising their luxury tourism properties using a token system that will be powered by blockchain. Then there are the customer rewards programmes wherein individuals are issued an NFT which contains their customer records, and creates a unique entry with secure storage of data. This can then be used in hotels and restaurants, or for loyalty points on transactions.
Now, an airplane ticket has been issued in the form of an NFT, and it is probably the most valuable ticket sold in commercial aviation history. The ticket (being labelled as 'NFTicket') sold at auction for all of $1 million.
The 'NFTicket' is a collaboration between the Spanish airline Air Europa and TravelX, a Spanish company building a blockchain-based distribution protocol for the travel industry.
So what is responsible for the astronomical price of this ticket? For one, it is a first-of-its-kind item. It is also a work of art - part of a series called 'The Art as the Destination'. This one is designed by Carlos Betancourt, an American-Puerto Rican contemporary artist whose multimedia works explore memory and culture.
The ticket however will serve as another boarding pass which will give the owner access to a business class seat on a flight to Miami Beach, scheduled for November 29.
The other NFT tickets in the pipeline in this series will showcase works by various well-known artists and will be auctioned between June 1 and September 2, via the TravelX platform.
TravelX has said these NFTickets will function as traditional NFTs - when traded, transactions will be recorded on the blockchain. TravelX has said that they believe this could become the new standard for the travel industry, helping travelers with a more frictionless experience, while increasing profitability for travel suppliers.