Qantas to launch airline NFTs
Credits: Gettyimages

Qantas to launch airline NFTs

In April last year, airBaltic announced it would be the first airline in the world to issue NFTs. Now, Australian flag carrier Qantas is jumping onboard with the digital asset hype. On Tuesday, the airline announced that it was gearing up to release a new set of non-fungible token digital art collectibles.

Australia’s biggest airline is inviting frequent flyers to register “expressions of interest” in “a new set of digital art collectables”.

Credits: Outlook India

“Using blockchain technology, each piece of digital artwork will be one-of-a-kind allowing you to buy, own, collect and sell your unique tokens,” the registration page notes.

I’m guessing we’ll see photographs or other evidence of rare Qantas moments in the initial batch. Think the paperwork for Qantas’ first A380 service, or pictures from the cockpit on the first flight on a new route.

What makes this particularly interesting for frequent flyers is the promise that “the initial buyer of a Qantas NFT will be able to earn Qantas Points”.

Concrete details are scarce. Qantas says the initial batch of NFTs will launch “mid-year” but hasn’t said much else.

But we can make some informed guesses as to whether the Qantas NFTs will be a solid investment, a momentary hype bubble or something in between.

While AirBaltic beat Qantas to the punch by over a year, Qantas will be the first to award loyalty points to the original purchaser of the airline’s NFT.

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An NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital asset that cannot be reproduced. They are typically issued to represent digital or non-digital assets such as documents, audio files, video clips and artworks.

The airlines’ NFT website teases the impending introduction with a split image of the airline’s iconic Boeing 747 in two familiar liveries.

Meanwhile, anticipating any reaction from environmentalists over the use of ecologically dubious blockchain technology transactions, Qantas has pledged that their NFTs will be delivered with net-zero emissions via low-carbon platforms.

In reality, Emirates Airlines was the first airline that tinkered with blockchain. However, their project was not NFT based and was never launched.

Emirates’ primary motivation was no publicity; it was utility. After the pandemic brought the term “health passport” into our lives, Emirates Airlines announced that they were trialing a blockchain-based digital health passport. Running on the blockchain, the digital health passport was designed to receive vaccination information and test results to help with passengers’ travel preparations.

As each country had its unique limitations against international travel, Emirates reasoned that such an application was necessary.