NFTs hit the world by storm as markets saw almost $25 billion in NFT sales in 2021 alone. While it may have initially been fueled by hype and FOMO gone wild, with seemingly worthless animated gif images selling for millions, the fact is that NFTs offer many more opportunities than most people realize. While they'll likely impact all industries as people come up with more and more creative use cases, the coworking business industry is already reaping its rewards.
That said, in this post, we'll discover five ways a coworking business can use NFTs to its advantage. These strategies will help you create new business models, boost your coworking space's membership, create a loyal customer base and more.
Before we dive into the benefits of using NFTs in a coworking space, let's take a quick look at what they are and how they work. Simply put, NFTs are digital assets that exist on blockchain ledgers. These assets can represent anything from physical objects like houses and cars to digital assets like images, videos and even a simple string of text.
These unique and irreplaceable assets work by leveraging blockchain technology and cryptography. This allows for the secure creation, storage and transfer of digital assets without the need for a third party. Because they are stored on a blockchain, NFTs are also transparent and immune to fraud or manipulation.
These features and characteristics make NFTs the perfect tools for the future of the internet and online businesses, but they're very powerful tools for brick&mortar businesses like coworking spaces as well. So, now that you know a little more about NFTs let's take a look at five ways they can benefit your coworking business today.
Since NFTs are powered by smart contracts, you can add all kinds of functionality to each of them to increase its underlying value. One very popular feature you can add is to make each NFT double as a membership token, granting the token holder access to your facility (or facilities) under predefined conditions. This was made popular by serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (GaryVee), who launched his NFT collection, dubbed VeeFriends, to build a community around his interests and passions, making a killing in the process.
While GaryVee's project was wildly successful in part because of his fame and in part because he opened a new use case for NFTs, coworking businesses can also use this same approach successfully to attract new members. Some specific examples of exclusive features you could add to your membership NFTs are:
It all comes down to what makes sense for your business model. This alone will make more people want to join your space, and it will be particularly attractive for the younger generations of coworkers.
While this alone is great, there is another key to NFTs that will make this extra attractive to your market. Since token holders are the owners of their NFTs and each one is unique, they can sell or lease them to other coworkers, so they enjoy access to your spaces as well. This feature, coupled with the scarcity of NFTs (you'll likely have to limit the total number of available subscriptions by capacity constraints), means that the tokens represent valuable assets token holders can either use themselves or trade for a profit in the future. This makes joining your coworking space's membership program an investment that members can monetize later on.How Does This Work?
Let's explore how this works and why it's effective. Take a financial service provider that launches a traditional (without NFTs), limited membership program offering lower transaction fees and commissions. People will immediately want to join because of the higher earning potential (the membership's value). However, once memberships run out, those who didn't join will lose interest.
Now picture the same scenario, but suppose the company launched its program using NFTs as membership tokens. Now, it doesn't matter if the tokens sell out because those who managed to buy them can sell their NFTs, transferring membership to someone else, if they choose. This means that, for the unlucky ones, there's still a chance to join the program. This demand can drive the membership NFTs' price up, representing a smart investment.
The coupled membership value and asset value that these NFTs offer will ultimately drive subscriptions for your business up.
Another popular way many businesses are using NFTs today is as tokens for loyalty rewards programs. There are many ways to make this work for coworking businesses, and we can draw inspiration from what popular brands in other industries are already doing.
One example is Burger King's Royal Perks program, which grants a loyalty NFT to customers who collect three other NFTs by buying meals at their restaurants. Once you reach three collective NFTs, you're awarded a fourth that comes with either free whoppers, merchandise, digital collectibles or access to NFT creators.
The first three NFTs aren't very valuable, but the fourth one can represent a great deal of value for Burger King's customers.
Another example is Clinique, which launched the Smart Rewards program that granted three limited-edition NFTs with valuable perks like early access to new Clinique products and even free merchandise annually for ten years.
Bring that experience to the coworking space, and you can easily see how it may work for you. You can reward users with a special NFT after a set number of hours using your space or certain amenities within your space, or for referring other coworkers, etc. The NFT can then reward the token holder with free or discounted access to your products or services, early access to future amenities, and any of the other perks mentioned above.
NFTs aren't only useful for established coworking spaces with a steady user base; you can also leverage them to help launch your coworking business. Some are already trying this approach, including Olumide Gbenro, who created a project of 500 NFTs he plans to sell for $2,500 a pop to raise $1.25 million and fund the development of a coworking haven on an island in Bali called Nomada.
Each NFT will come with lifetime access to the facilities once it's built, at prices and rates defined by the community. He had originally set out to sell 5,000 NFTs instead of 500 and managed to raise $65,000, but then decided that 5,000 people with round-the-clock access would be too many to handle for a small paradise island.
Regardless of Gbenro's success or failure, his experience highlights the fact that NFTs can offer a great way to crowdsource any project (including a coworking business) in an unconventional way without the need for third parties or specialized platforms other than an NFT marketplace. NFTs' unique features make this an attractive option for investors worldwide. The best part is that, by the time you finish launching your business, you'll already have a strong user base to keep it going.
Coworking businesses can also use NFTs for marketing purposes in addition to all the other benefits we've already mentioned. They're proven to be effective marketing assets that help increase user interaction, brand awareness and conversions by different means. Big brands from the consumer and luxury industries are already feeding off the hype that 2021 brought in the NFT space.
Using the many emerging and quickly growing metaverse platforms, you can get the word out about your company in innovative ways.Some strategies include:
One of the best things about NFTs is their versatility. You can use them to represent anything, from physical objects to digital assets. One type of assets they can represent is real estate in metaverses like Decentraland, Roblox and the Sandbox. Buying real estate NFTs (a.k.a. virtual plots of land) in any of those platforms opens the opportunity to build virtual versions of your physical coworking spaces. This, in turn, allows the creation of a new hybrid business model for coworking businesses that can now offer virtual offices in parallel with their physical premises.
A service like the above would allow remote teams to come together and collaborate both physically (in your physical premises) and virtually (in the metaverse) at the same time by exploiting mixed-reality technology. Of course, this type of business model would require specialized equipment and amenities, but it's the metaverse and the NFTs that power it that make it possible to implement without the intervention of big tech.
Whether you're considering starting a coworking business or already running one, NFTs are worth looking into. They provide an innovative way to crowdsource your project without the need for third parties and can even be used as marketing assets that help increase brand awareness, user interaction and conversions through different means.
From marketing strategies to new hybrid business models, it's clear how NFTs can benefit any company looking for an original idea or fresh perspective on their current operations. The benefits of NFTs are clear, and it's no wonder why they're gaining so much traction in the business world. As we move into an era where digital assets and virtual worlds are becoming more and more commonplace, it's important to explore all the possibilities that NFTs have to offer.
The article was written by Jordan Bishop, a personal finance expert and travel hacker who holds a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada. He is the founder of Yore Oyster and How I Travel, two sites to help you optimize your finances while living an international life. He recently published his first book, Unperfect, an exploration of problem solving.