NFTs? Why You Should Care about Non-fungible Tokens as an Event Planner

Part two of the interview with trendwatcher Tom Palmaerts. Kevin and Tom are exploring the possibilities of NFTs for the event industry.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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In the previous episode, we showed you the interview with Tom on the metaverse. Because we had to cut the interview in two parts, you will now see the second part of that interview on NFTs. Maybe we can start by explaining what an NFT is. And then I'm very curious on how you see the link between NFTs and the event industry.

Well, first: NFTs are non-fungible tokens. What is non-fungibility?

If I have a hundred euros, Kevin, and I give you a hundred euros and you will give it back to me. Within a week, within a month. It doesn't matter. Does it need to be that same hundred euros? No, it can be another. It can also be five times twenty euros. Or you can just put it on my bank account. So this is fungible.

Non-fungibility is your flight ticket. If you give me your flight ticket, because you're going to Hawaii. And next week I give it back to you, but it's to London, then you're not going to be happy.

If you finally have that concert ticket for Nick Cave and I give you back a concert ticket for "Britney Spears is back again", you're not going to be happy. Maybe you will, but you get my point.

What is also a non-fungible token? Non-fungibility does mean you can't rip it apart. So, if you give me your ticket to Nick Cave and I say: okay, we'll do it in two. You have half my ticket to Nick Cave and I have half of that ticket: we're not going to enter the concert.

NFTs are the digital versions of this. If I send you...

Within the crypto-world, if I send you a part of bitcoin and you will give it back to me...

It doesn't matter what type of money you give back to me. Just the amount of that bitcoin. I just want it back. That's fungible. But if I send you an art work of eventplanner. This is very unique. And this is an NFT.

It's in the newspapers a lot, because some people are buying virtual drawings of monkeys. For thousands of euros. Even millions of euros. And that's insane. And of course, that's what everybody is focussed on. And everybody's talking about. Or laughing with, now.

Because I think one other important thing about non-fungible tokens is the blockchain technology behind it. Telling: okay, this is now yours. And it's written in stone. Well, not in stone. In the blockchain. And the blockchain technology is a distributed system where it can't be falsified or whatever. It says you are the owner of it. And what we've seen in the last couple of months is that people also start selling really weird stuff. Their first tweets as an NFT. Or I heard...

And I'm very bad with names and I don't know anything about sports. But I heard a cyclist sold his win on the Mont-Ventoux via an NFT. But then I started to think: where the hell is this going?

Because you can sell anything with an NFT.

You can sell everything, that's true. And of course, in a trend...

And we definitely need to talk about the hype NFT. And I think the hype of NFT is over.

For me, all the time, I get fascinated by a trend before the hype starts. And then, when everybody thinks: well, now we're selling a tweet, now it's over. No, then again it starts to become fascinating. Because every hype will grow and will fall down. But eventually will be bigger than the starting point. Because something triggered, something changed there. And I think the technology of NFT is really an important one.

I started doing research about blockchain, I think, a year or seven ago. Thanks to Gerrie Smits, who wrote a book about blockchain, WTF. And he helped me understand the technology behind that. Because for me, at that time, it was very weird.

And the past years I've been helping a lot of companies in the crypto-world. Even a broker in the Netherlands. To create some kind of future vision towards the possibilities of blockchain.

And two years ago we saw the growth of DFY where people used blockchain to invest, to lend. To swap different crypto tokens. To insure themselves. So all the financial systems you can find. is on blockchain. That was really a hype, a year and a half ago, two years.

Now, the past six months, it was all about NFT. And of course, there's going to be a next hype again. But for me, as a future trendwatcher, it's important to see what's underneath it. And yes, of course, today they are selling tweets and they're selling drawings of monkeys. And that's all fun. And let them play and let them have fun.

And I hope that, in the event industry also, people understand that this is more than just only some collectibles. It has a lot of opportunities. We don't know yet where it's really heading to. And that's fascinating about this NFT world: where is it going to? It's a difficult question.

But for me, what fascinates me here, is that you can put everything as an NFT. The question is: what will you do with it? Who will buy it? Why will they buy it?

If you are an artist and if you're working already for decades in art, and you're creating really cool stuff, but you're just somewhere in the basement and nobody knows of you and you don't have social connections, and you're just...

You're not going to, suddenly, be very popular in NFT. But if you're working for years now already and connecting with people and building a community surrounding you and now you're going out, within this technology world and you're going to sell it within NFTs and you're really going to have connection as an artist, to your audience, that's massive. As in a lot of opportunities.

So if you're an artist and you draw something. You paint something. You sell it. Virtually. Someone can buy this. Virtually. So, it's not at their home. They only have it virtually. But, you, as an artist, you have a direct connection to the one person who has your artwork. You don't need people who are in between. You have a direct connection. Six months later, if you want to surprise the persons who have your art, you can just drop in their virtual box. You can drop another piece of art.

You can create a community. A Discord community for instance. Where people need to show that they really have an artwork of you. So all the people in those chatgroups are really directly connected to you.

Now we're talking about painters. But think about musicians. Think about people who are writing poems. People who are building virtual grounds, building virtual houses. There are a lot of possibilities there.

But for me the most important element here, and that's why I really wanted to talk about this with you, Kevin, is the social-cultural element about it. If you can connect with your audience, imagine...

Because it all the times scares. Imagine you have thousands of tickets to your event. Thousands. Who will buy these tickets? What are they buying these for? What's your goal? What are you going to do with it? What can you do, after the event, with them? What can you offer them? Every month. Every year. Maybe even every day. What can you do?

You can connect them. Bring them together so they can, maybe, go to a next event. For free if they can say like: look, I have an NFT of yours. Then you can enter the community.

Yes, but this I find very interesting. Because I had a couple of guests already in the studio. And we were talking about and discussing blockchain. And what they came up with was only using blockchain to sell tickets. And in my opinion, and I have a technology background, that's a very stupid idea. Why? Blockchain is there as a decentralized system if you don't trust an authority. Because if you have an authority, the event organizer, it's much cheaper to have a regular ticketing system. It will have less impact on the environment, because blockchain is using a lot of energy and computing power. To calculate all those blockchains. So just for selling tickets, I don't believe in blockchain.

But what you're telling here, is adding that extra layer. Making that NFT something on its own. And then I'm with you in that story.

Yes, I would like, if it's still possible, Kevin, because we have already been talking for some time now, but I want to, maybe, add something to it. Because, okay, we've talked about blockchain and we've talked about the metaverses where we enter. And NFTs. Because NFTs are also going to be part of the metaverse. The artwork that you show in the house in the metaverse. That's your house. But the house also is an NFT and your clothes in the metaverse are also NFTs.

Because, if you go to the shop of Vanns, maybe Vanns will give you a virtual item for free. But if you've been there already for an amount of time, they're going to be surprising you with limited editions of certain elements. And you can, again, sell it on the NFT open markets. To other people that don't have the time to visit that shop every day. So there are a lot of possibilities. In gaming and...

And so the metaverse and NFTs will eventually will eventually merge. Will be one element, in a way.

But there's another approach that are called DAO, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization. And I think that, from that community perspective, it's really interesting.

What is a DAO? A Decentralized Autonomous Organization? Actually that's a community, a chat group, it's a community, where they share bank accounts.

That's an interesting concept.

That's very interesting.

What do you need to do?

First, you start a chat group. But that can already be an event that you're organizing every month, every three months, every year. You have a community. Most of the time, today, it's Discord they use for this type of communication. Okay, first you need a group. A chat group.

Second: what's your goal? What's the goal of that community? That, you have to think about. Okay.

So you have a group in a Discord. You have a goal, where you want to go to. Why you're together. As friends, as hobbyists, as investors. It doesn't matter.

And then you need some rules. And that's beautiful in the blockchain, You can put those rules of governance. Rules of investments. The why of your community. You can put it in a smart contract. So everything is clear. You know how many people there can be. Everything is clear.

And then, next, you need a shared bank account. And, of course, most of the time they use Ethereum for this. And Ethereum Wallet for this. The technology behind this...

You need some technology background to really create this. But, for instance, there's SubDAO and they're now searching for money to really start. Their company and SubDAO have divisions to help you create this type of organization within fifteen minutes. So give it some time. There are going to be more of these types of companies that are really going to help you.

Like create an app. In the beginning it was really difficult. Now, in ten minutes, fifteen minutes, everybody can create an app. There are tools. Websites: the same thing.

So now the question is: how, as an outsider, can you be part of this group? Well, first you can buy yourself a token from them. You can say: I'm going to pay for a token. So if I buy a token, then I'm part of the group. That's the same story as the NFT. Like: if you have an NFT of eventplanner, then you can enter the event. Same thing. But you can use an NFT or you can use a token that you just create for your event.

Now okay. So you can buy a token and then you're part of that community. Maybe you can also... Maybe you don't have a lot of money. You can just work for them. You can work, you can help them. You dan do the communication online. You can help them with the PR. There are a lot of things you can do for such a community, such a DAO.

And within the DAO rules it'll say: well, so much money can go to all the people that are helping us. If you do this, you can receive this. If you do this, you receive this. So those are two ways that you, as an outsider, can be part of that community, can be part of that group.

Now, there are a lot of examples of this, but it's really in the beginning. PleasrDAO is an incredible one. PleasrDAO is a group of people that come together and they say like: you know what, we don't have enough money to buy all those incredible NFTs today. They are so expensive. But we want to be art collectors. But new digital art collectors of a new world. And how are we going to do this? Well, we're going to have a shared bank account. Everybody puts the money in it. So we can, together, buy those more expensive NFTs. So this is an example. This is an example investment group.

Other example, for instance: wilder world. Wilder world is creating a metaverse. So, they're not purely investing. No, they really want to create a new thing. And you can be part of that DAO. And if you're part of that DAO you can, eventually, go to their events. But you can also decide what they're going to do.

A really beautiful other example is Friends with Benefits. It's a United States group and they want to use blockchain to have cultural connection, cultural community. So if you have one Friends with Benefits token then you have access to the Discord group. You have access to their newsletter. If you have 75 of their tokens, you can go to all their events that they're organizing. So you have an open agenda and you see what they're doing. And you can go to all their events.

Now, as a group, you can also look for, search for: who will we book? Who will organize? Where are we going to do this?

That was exactly what I was thinking about. If you organize a conference in this way, have the audience, upfront, buy a token and then decide, together: okay, who are we going to have as a keynote speaker and so on. That's a very interesting idea.

So the question here, and maybe that's to have that future mind to your audience, is: look at all your events, but maybe also personally, look at all the communities that you are part off, now imagine that you have a shared bank account and imagine that you're not the one who decides everything, but that the community, together, can decide what you are going to do, what will that look like? What's your next event when your community has a shared bank account? And that can be a lot of things. That can be investments. That can investing in startups.

It can also be social goals. What are you going to do to give money to certain social goals?

Or that can be not about investing but about creating new ideas. Or new companies. Or just helping each other.

So that the community is not just one event but people really want to be part of that community. And what do you earn by this as an event organizer? Because you're not the one creating events.

Well, the most interaction you have within that community, the most attractive that community becomes. The more value your tokens will receive. Do the more money you will receive.

It's a different approach. And I really believe in metaverse and in NFTs. But I really believe that for the next five years there are going to be more and more examples of these DAOs. Of these social dynamics behind blockchain. Social groups where you are together, having a smart contract. Having a shared bank account. Coming together virtually or in real life. And having the same goal. And I really believe that.

How will this be and what kind of tools you will receive? That will have to wait for another few years. But it's going to be very fascinating to follow this. And I think it is going to change the event industry. And even the entire community atmosphere. Because, in my opinion, every community the next years will have their own social token.

Okay, wow, Tom. You shared a lot of incredibly fresh ideas with us. So, thank you very much for that. We will need to wrap up here. But we will see you next year for the follow-up.

And if people are interested in transforming those ideas for their business, they can contact you, obviously, as an expert, to help them think about that.

Yes, definitely. I look forward to it.

Okay, thank you Tom.

Okay, I will see you next year Kevin.

And you, at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.