Back to basics - the ultimate guide to utility NFTs

Like any new technology, part of the appeal of NFTs is the mystery and intrigue around them. Early adopters get a kick out of benefiting from something that’s not widely understood - and there can be a sense of ‘if you know, you know’ around the industry.  

But this mystery has a downside, and many people think it has led to a lack of practical guidance for creators who want to boost their own collections. ‘If you know, you know’ doesn’t help people get involved and thrive in the industry.

We think it’s about time that changed.  So, strap in for our ultimate guide to utilities which will demystify some of the techy stuff, dive into examples of NFT projects providing utility to the real-world - and provide concrete and practical tips and tricks you can use to get started.

The what and the why of utility NFTs

So, we know that utilities are all about giving NFTs real-world value (check out our blog for more on that). But, why are they so important? Well, like so much in the digital world, the answer lies in intense competition. In an ultra-busy market, creators have to come up with a way to ensure people buy their NFTs over anything else out there - and then make sure their customers stick around for the long-term.

The good news is that there’s plenty of scope for creativity. From exclusive club memberships to access to parties and new collections, NFT utilities can be varied and exciting and continue delivering something new. AND - with Tropee you can even let your communities build utilities themselves for your collection. We know, we know, it’s a game changer right?

So what are utilities then? Broadly speaking, NFT utilities can be split into two distinct categories - physical and digital. Digital utilities exist to bring the holder into the online world of the creators, while physical utilities bring real-life benefits like merch or events into the hands of your loyal communities.

But how do you know which is best for your brand? We think that a great place to start is in assessing what’s already out there - taking inspiration from the best of the best.

The best digital utilities

So, who is making waves in the world of digital utilities? Let’s take a look.

One creator doing digital utility really well is Moon Boyz. Available on OpenSea, Moon Boyz is a collection of more than 11,111 unique digital figurines, which communities can swap and sell. But perhaps most importantly, Moon Boyz fanz get access to dedicated online communities and functionalities, including the exclusive Moon Boyz Party Platform, where users with the rarest characters can gain entry to the coolest online events.

We couldn’t talk about digital utility without mentioning Gary Vee who is the master of keeping NFT holders engaged and sticky. One of the ways he’s doing this is offering selected VeeFriends holders online chats with Gary himself - great stuff!

Gary Vee created VeeFriends, an NFT collection packed with utilities

If you’re looking to digital utilities you also might want to consider providing existing holders with whitelist spots for forthcoming releases - something which Bored Ape Yacht Club has consistently done really well with its new batches.

Lastly, you might also want to consider those altruistic folk amongst your community members - those who want to give something back. For example, the metaverse mini-gaming creator Creepy Creams pledges to support children’s charities for ever NFT purchased - updating holders regularly on what they’re doing to help the worthy causes. It’s a great way to show holders what you and your brand stands for and believes in - and we think charity tie ups and the idea of doing good alongside NFT projects is only going to get more popular as the market continues to mature.

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Let’s get physical

Some of the most creative NFT builders are seamlessly combining the digital world with physical assets such as exclusive merch, events and more - providing holders with links to the brand both on and offline. A great example of this is Lemon - the creator of the renowned Lyrical Lemonade artwork - who has created a popular music festival to sit alongside its digital creations. Lemon’s NFT holders get three years’ access to the annual Summer Smash Music festival - plenty of impetus to keep engaging with the brand.

Have you heard of ‘phygital’ yet? You might have come across the latest NFT buzzword and been confused by it - but the truth is it’s a pretty simple concept which savvy creators are getting behind, where a physical version of the NFT design is created for loyal olders to get their hands on. An example of someone doing this really well is Cult&Rain - a fashion brand which creates high-end physical redeemables to accompany its NFT collection. The latest Cult&Rain drop was NFT a stylish varsity jacket which ‘Cult Pass’ holders have clamored to get hold of.

Cult&Rain makes sneaker NFTs you can redeem for an identical pair

One more high end brand worth a mention is jewelry designer Jacob & Co with its  “Astronomia Metaverso” collection - designed in collaboration with UNXD, a luxury and culture NFT marketplace. The company has already unveiled the first three of the eight timepieces in the collection, all of which are inspired by the solar system’s planets. Venus and Mars will be distributed as one-of-a-kind physical NFT timepieces with accompanying NFTs, and Saturn will be offered simply as 30 separate NFTs. It’s a great concept, which we see doing big business both on launch and after.

Turn the theory into action

Hopefully by now you’re inspired to add some utility to your NFTs - and prioritise building and rewarding your community for their loyalty. But how do you get started? We think there are four routes to real success:

Find inspiration from the best. Here’s some more food for thought if you need it.

Build a great roadmap. This is your contract with your holders, and lets them know what they can expect from you. More on how to get started here.

Communicate what you’re doing and engage online. Make sure you’re an engaged member of your community. Be seen on platforms like Twitter and Discord and let your holders know about the great things you’re doing.

Share stories and learn from each other. Have you got any great examples of utilities you’re harnessing? We’d love to hear them!

Talk to us, this is what we do every day. We can help you connect any utility to any NFT collection, and create the roadmap of your dreams — all from a single platform. Get started here

Check out our blog for more tips and tricks and get going with building loyal and sticky NFT communities today.