In a press release, TravelX and Air Europa announced the first non-fungible token airline ticket series, called “NFTickets”. The NFTickets, minted on the Algorand blockchain, will be matched with actual airline tickets for a flight from Madrid to Miami in December. The flight is to coincide with the Art Basel event in Miami, a hotspot for NFTs.
Bernardo Botella, Global Sales Director at Air Europa, said innovation is in the airline’s DNA and has been a pioneer in implementing new technologies. According to Botella, NFTs could be the next step in the travel industry.
TravelX auctions the NFTickets every 14 days on its website, which started on April 11. The winners of the auctions can exchange their NFT tickets for actual air tickets when they are ready to fly. The NFTs come with a rare artwork that was commissioned as part of a series called ‘The Art as the Destination’.
The artist of the first piece is Carlos Betancourt, whose art has appeared in permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. For his work, Betancourt said he would experiment with the boundaries of art and technology, the concepts of space, magical realms, travel experiences, and the feelings and memories those experiences can evoke.
Facundo Diaz, the co-founder of TravelX, said the NFTickets would provide auction winners with a better ticket that can be easily managed from a blockchain wallet. The tickets will be the “perfect fusion” of art, technology and travel, according to Diaz.
Physical objects linked to NFTs a growing trend
While physical objects were rarely linked to NFTs during the industry boom in 2021, 2022 was very different. In it, several companies have linked real-world objects to NFTs, taking advantage of the blockchain’s ability to quickly prove provenance.
For example, Hennessy attached a rare bottle of brandy to an NFT, the Golden State Warriors added rare memorabilia to their 2022 Playoffs NFTs, and Mike Tyson matched signed physical merchandise to some of the NFTs in his collection drop.
According to some, the blockchain’s built-in functionality to prove an item’s chain of ownership is a game-changer for collectibles. One of the believers is Kevin O’Leary, a prominent shark on the TV show Shark Tank. He has stated that the blockchain can make it easier to prove the authenticity of an item and easier to prove counterfeits.
There’s no telling whether TravelX and Air Europa’s bid to use NFTs to link to tickets will pay off, but there’s little doubt that the movement to link NFTs to physical items is growing.