The United Arab Emirates (UAE) aircraft recently announced that it will launch utility-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and branded experiences in the metaverse. The company said the upcoming projects are in line with its ambitious Web3 and Metaverse plans.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the chairman and chief executive of the airline group Emirates, said on Thursday that Dubai and Emirates Airlines are breaking new ground in the digital economy. He added that his vision is supported by “practical policies” related to virtual assets, artificial intelligence, data protection and regulation.
Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul airline, also said it was committed to developing products and services using emerging technologies such as NFTs and blockchain.
The metaverse, a term for digital worlds built for virtual and augmented reality, is expected to become a multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years. And NFTs – unique, verifiable digital assets stored on blockchains enable brands and companies like Emirates to sell digital assets and reach new customers in creative and engaging ways.
While the UAE did not provide details on the type of NFTs it would release, it stated that the first NFT and metaverse projects are well underway and expected to arrive in the coming months.
UAE has been preparing for the Metaverse
This is not Emirates’ first foray into virtual reality (VR). Five years ago, the airline introduced VR technology on its website and app, giving customers an interactive 3D 360-degree view of the aircraft’s interior. And about a year ago, Emirates was the first airline to launch its own VR app in Meta’s Oculus store.
While Covid-19 is hitting airlines particularly hard, Emirates predicts a return to profits next year as air traffic picks up around the world. It also has plans to turn its Expo 2020 pavilion into a “center for innovation” where it can recruit talent to work on future Web3, NFT, and metaverse-related projects.
As NFTs grow in popularity and reshape the digital economy, it will be interesting to see how Emirates integrates them into its business model. Several companies have found ways to tie physical products to NFTs, and one possibility could be that the NFTs could be used as actual airline tickets.
Time will tell what the airline brings to the NFT and metaverse spaces. But one thing is certain: another giant company like the UAE investing in NFTs and the metaverse is another win for the nascent technologies that are reshaping the digital landscape.