What is a NFT utility? Ideas, examples, how to build them and strategies for success

If you’re reading this, there are chances that you are pretty clued-up about the NFT market already. You are also wondering “what does NFT utility mean?”. You’ve probably invested in a hot new NFT, or maybe you’ve even launched a collection yourself. You know that the big money can be made on the secondary market and you might even see the potential for NFTs to revolutionize things like ticketing and events.

But if you don’t know about utility NFTs then you’re missing a trick. Giving a collection a ‘utility’ or ‘real-world usefulness’ turns an NFT from ‘just a pretty picture’ into something much more exciting, valuable and sustainable. With a utility NFT, holders could gain access to an exclusive membership, get into an event, get early access to new mints - or even get the chance to meet and greet a celebrity. All great stuff!

What are the advantages of NFT utilities? 

For creators, a real-world, quantifiable value can build customer excitement, create new revenue streams and boost brand loyalty. For holders, NFT utilities provide a way to get exclusive content, goodies and extras - and to feel closer and more connected with creators.

Interested? Well, the good news is that the expert team at Tropee is here to help you harness the power of NFT utilities, boost your own collection and keep users engaged and sticky for the long-haul.

Examples of NFTs with digital utility

Get access to limited edition digital collectibles

Need some inspo? Autograph is a pretty good place to start. This innovative brand has brought together some of the most famous entertainers, sports personalities and celebrities to build a massively popular digital collectible and user community. Autograph was co-founded by Tom Brady, and harnessing the power of super-star advisers like Tiger Woods. This company allows users to get their hands on limited edition (and individually signed) digital collectibles, together with exclusive content, fan experiences and a community platform which boasts thousands of regular users.

Get access to exclusive communities and more

The Moon Boyz is another good example of a collection which is deploying utilities to keep users engaged. Available on Open Sea, Moon Boyz is a collection of more than 11,000 unique NFTs on the Ethereum Blockchain.

And it’s more than just a cool three-dimensional design. Owners of Moon Boyz NFTs get exclusive access to dedicated communities and functionalities, including the digital Moon Boyz Party Platform, as well as VIP Club entry to its online community, and much more. It’s also working well for the creators. Moon Boyz is ever-growing and updating its roadmap, prices, and functionalities. Good stuff.

How the most famous collection leverage utilities?

Bored Ape Yacht Club - one of the most famous NFT collections out there - is perhaps unsurprisingly doing a good job with digital utilities too.  BAYC NFTs come with an array of perks, including exclusive access to a digital members-only space called The Bathroom - which encompasses a collaborative artistic platform for drawing a single pixel on canvas every 15 minutes.

Examples of NFTs with real-world utility

So there are plenty of good examples of creators bringing digital value to their holders. But some brands are taking their collections offline - letting digital NFT holders get some pretty tasty benefits in the real world too. 

An exclusive dinner in New York thanks to one NFT

Check out Gary Vee’s Flyfish Club for example, which gives holders ultra-exclusive access to a dining club experience including a much sought after seat in a 10,000-square-foot private eatery set in the heart of New York City. Flyfish holders also get access to awesome events held in the restaurant, including in its cocktail lounge, omakase room, and opulent outdoor dining area.

Get physical products that are not available anymore

brands are connecting NFTs with more perks attached to them beyond collectible works of art, including promoting physical products. With the Meta Optimist collection, cosmetic brand Estee Lauder allows holders to access sold out products such as the legendary Black Honey lipstick.

Keep a physical product in a vault

The vault is a very interesting concept. In this case, the NFT represents a physical product, and serves as proof of authenticity, verification of ownership, and the right to have the corresponding product redeemed at any time by the holder of the NFT.

Last year, StockX released NFTs of very rare sneakers, each one represents a pair of sneaker that is stored in their high-security vault. This has a lot of advantage, holders can be owner of products without having to store them. It's also a new, faster, cheaper and more efficient trading experience for those who buy for investing or resale.

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How do I add utility to my NFT collection? 

The easiest way to add utilities to your collection

Hopefully by now you’re feeling inspired to add utility to your own collection. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be tricky. And the even better news is that standard NFTs can become utility NFTs in just a few clicks, using platforms like Tropee.

Create and manage utilities with Tropee

From raffles and merch to ‘ask me anything’ sessions with creators and whitelists for future drops, with Tropee, users can pick a template (or start from scratch) and build exclusive experiences for holders with ready-to-go utilities.

Tropee is a post-mint platform - that means that you can build utilities for any minted NFT collection. Once you’ve decided what utility you want to add, you can segment your holders based on their attributes and behaviours, ensuring you always deliver the right utility to the right people.

But that’s not the end of the story. Once you’ve minted and added great utilities, you will need to manage your collection. Tropee users take advantage of powerful analytics to keep track of customer engagement, as well as tools to promote updates and features across a range of social channels. 

How can I create a good utility strategy?

Attract people with a lot of rewards

Like Hannibal from the A-Team, we love it when a plan comes together. And in the NFT world, a great plan means a great roadmap. You’ll need to create something that’s achievable (you need to keep your promises in order to keep your users loyal) and appealing too, with plenty of new stuff to keep users interested.  

Promote your roadmap on your website and make it look great - you want your users to feel engaged and excited about what’s to come. Check out Fishy Fam for inspiration - the sub-sea collection has some brilliant features forthcoming, from merch to community clean up missions.

Utilities to keep your collection attractive

You should also recognise that different utilities can do different things - boost consumption, boost retention or provide opportunities to stay attractive for the long-term.

Let’s look at retention - particularly today, as the NFT industry enters the bear market, we know that many holders are tempted to sell their tokens, worrying that they’ll dip in value. Clever creators are heading this off at the pass by incentivising holders to keep their tokens - offering new utilities for people who have kept their tokens.

And creators who want to keep collections attractive will commit to airdropping new utilities or features as time goes on - adding to what a collection delivers to its users. Check out The Big Five to see what we mean - this animal collection offers users new features and utilities as time goes on - everything from new game play functionality to the ability to breed and trade creatures. Great concept!

What is the future for NFT utilities? 

We’re already seeing plenty of progress in how utility NFTs are built and deployed - and this looks set to continue. For example, while some savvy sports clubs are already using NFTs to replace paper tickets for big matches, there's no reason why NFTs can’t eventually replace season tickets - offering all-year-round access to club games. 

We’re also likely to see more celebs following in the footsteps of Paris Hilton and jumping on the NFT bandwagon - realising that the digital tokens offer a powerful way to stay closer and more engaged with their fans. Indeed, there's a bright future for NFTs in the music industry too - with artists like Calvin Harris and video director Emil Nava saying that NFTs are a “whole new tool for creativity” that has not been realised yet.

In fact, we believe that it’s no exaggeration to say that utilities are the future of NFTs - and it’s the real-world value which will take NFTs from being a short-lived craze to a sustainable, profitable industry which attracts ongoing investment. The good news, There are loads of use cases to take inspiration from and with the brightest minds working hard on new concepts, the future is bright for the world of ‘NFT 2.0’