What are the latest automotive industry NFTs?
These automakers are entering the NFT space.
Last year, an Elon Musk-signed Tesla Model X physical toy car was minted as a non-fungible token (NFT) and auctioned on OpenSea. The auction didn’t turn out to be very successful (probably because it wasn’t an official release made by Tesla), but it got some car fans wondering: will NFTs come in? one day in the automotive market?
Well, it’s safe to say that NFTs have entered this market and caught the attention of the media. But how exactly are automakers profiting from the accelerating trend? Keep reading to find out.
Chevrolet is one of the latest big names in the automotive industry to enter the NFT market. Chevy (as the automaker is informally known) has announced that the company is auctioning an NFT “Own The Color” Corvette on the NFT SuperRare auction site in conjunction with artist Nick Sullo. The NFT features a Minted Green 2023 Corvette Z06 car speeding through a cyberpunk setting.
The auction was originally scheduled to be held from June 20, 2022 to June 24, 2022, but Chevrolet later extended the auction period as some users expressed disappointment at missing out on the artwork auction window of the Corvette Z06 NFT. The actual 2023 Corvette Z06 is expected to go into mass production in mid-summer 2022 and will officially go on sale in early 2023.
While it’s unclear who will get the NFT, the winning bidder will receive not only the crypto artwork, but also the physical, first and only 2023 Minted Green Corvette Z06. Chevrolet confirms that the mint green color will not be applied to other Z06s in future production, making the auctioned car one of a kind. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the educational charity DonorsChoose.
Italian luxury carmaker Lamborghini unveiled its first NFT project in January this year. Titled “Space Time Memory”, the NFT collection contains five linked pairs of digital and physical art created in collaboration with Swiss artist Fabian Ofner, NFT Pro (a company that manages NFT projects for businesses) and RM Sotheby’s. The space-themed digital artwork depicts a Lamborghini breaking down into its major components after passing through the atmosphere and into space like a rocket.
Unlike Chevrolet’s NFT, Lamborghini did not offer a physical luxury car for buyers to claim. Instead, winning bidders received a physical “space key” made of carbon fibers that Lamborghini sent to the International Space Station as part of a research project in 2019. Each space key is a gray rectangular block on which a QR code linking to the digital illustration is engraved. To match the astronomical theme, Lamborghini planned to hold each auction for 75 hours and 50 minutes, which is the exact time it took Apollo 11 to leave Earth and enter the Moon’s orbit.
Last year, premium sports car maker Ferrari teamed up with Swiss tech company Velas Network AG to bring its first-ever NFT to market. The company announced plans to make NFTs available for purchase in March 2022, when a new season of F1 games began. However, as March progressed, we heard nothing more from the company regarding the details of the project or the exact date when the project will officially launch.
While the project is still ongoing, Ferrari’s official website was hacked several months after its NFT plan was announced. Ferrari’s “forms.ferrari.com” subdomain was reportedly compromised on May 5 to support an NFT scam. The scammers designed a malware code named “Mint Your Ferrari” and used “a collection of 4,458 horsepower NFTs on the Ethereum network” as a tactic to trick people into buying.
Despite the crisis, some believe it won’t affect people’s confidence in investing in Ferrari’s NFTs on its dedicated site as the brand has long had a deliberate cybersecurity policy.
Unlike the three brands above, luxury automaker Alfa Romeo operates NFTs differently. Since the transaction records of NFTs are verified and stored on a blockchain using cryptography, the data is neither repeatable nor immutable. The distributed nature of blockchains has made NFTs an ideal option for most automakers to provide their customers with proof of ownership upon purchase.
However, Alfa Romeo is a pioneer and uses NFTs as proof of the car’s maintenance status. Earlier this year, Alfa Romeo unveiled its latest hybrid-electric SUV, Tonale SUV. It became the first car in the industry to come with an NFT digital certificate. According to the company, the NFTs will record vehicle data with the consent of the customer, which will serve as evidence to record the maintenance status of the car.
By storing and tracking vehicle data in blockchains, buyers in the used car market can know if the car is well maintained before making their purchase decision. Since it is almost impossible for anyone to fabricate the data, car owners who take good care of their vehicles are expected to sell their cars in used car markets with higher resale value.
German automaker Porsche also dabbled in NFTs last year. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the brande anniversary in Australia, Porsche Australia has released three photo-based Taycan NFTs, namely Road Trip I, Road Trip II and Road Trip III. Created in collaboration with contemporary artist Nigel Sense, photographer Derek Swalwell and music composer Gene Shill, each car comes with an original soundtrack composed by Gene Shill that matches the colors and vibrancy of the Taycan.
In case you need a reminder, Taycan is Porsche’s first all-electric sports car. All three NFTs were minted with support from German collectibles startup NFT Fanzone and auctioned on SuperRare on December 7, 2021.
In addition to providing digital assets to car fans, Porsche also demonstrates its concern for society. Last year, Porsche announced plans to auction a freehand design sketch of a combination Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and 911 (a two-door high-performance rear-engined sports car) illustrated by the director of exterior design for the company, Peter Varga. Again, the minting and bidding processes were supported by Fanzone, and the sketch was auctioned off on SuperRare. All proceeds went to Viva con Agua, a non-profit group dedicated to providing people around the world with access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
The creativity that resides in NFTs is priceless. The rise of NFT opens a new door for automakers to interact with their customers by offering expensive but one-of-a-kind products. Undoubtedly, NFTs can help companies build profitable businesses. Yet if more automakers emulate Porsche’s initiative and integrate corporate social responsibility into their business plans, NFTs will become even more invaluable.
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