We’re pretty sure you’ve already heard about NFTs, after all, they’ve been THE big thing for quite some months now, but here’s a quick reminder: NFTs are digital tokens stored on a blockchain, the immutable digital ledger technology used by all cryptocurrencies to store transactions. The big difference between cryptocurrency coins or tokens and NFTs, is that the latter are unique, hence their name: Non-Fungible Tokens. The gimmick started with memes & gaming weapons or skins back around 2015 and has gained ground in art, collectibles, cards trading, music, videos, and now travel…
Galileo: NFTs And Round Business
Bali-based Galileo Future Travel is offering, starting October, 4, the possibility to buy what they call “travel entitlements” NFTs, which consist of stays in a couple of chosen Bali resorts, elephant rides, or white water rafting excursions. Those bookings are to be redeemed at whatever time is fit for the buyer (pending availability) before December 2025. Redeemed or sold, presumably for a profit, as prices are still right now at pandemic levels, and deemed to grow as the travel crisis recedes. The company presents the scheme as a win-win situation for both early bookers and participating establishments. The former get heavily discounted resort stays or activities, and the operators some much-needed liquidity to stay afloat and maintain jobs during this critical pre-recovery period.
Smart Contracts for Smarter Travels?
Those entitlements can be bought on the travel futures club website with fiat (Rupiahs, Dollars, Euros…), or cryptos. The fiat option involves a 13% surcharge, so if you’re interested in the project, it’s probably time to part with some of your tokens… The crypto option will redirect you to the Galileo travel app, still in beta desktop-only version at the time of writing, where you’ll be able to connect your wallet and pay with your favorite token. Or you can use the company native Binance Smart Chain BEP-20 token, $TRVL, soon to be released. Hati-hati (be careful in Indonesian) with the token denomination, there’s another TRVL token (on ERC-20 standard), issued by Dtravel, the crypto airbn’b wannabe platform recently launched by Travala.
But where do the NFTs fit in the picture? The NFTs ARE the booking: once you’ve paid, one is minted and stored in the blockchain. It is unique, immutable, and very hip. You can use it as a regular booking, and hodl onto it, or as an investment, which is one of their use. We assume, for example, that Sina Estavi, the dude (and CEO of the Bridge Oracle blockchain) who bought Jack Dorsey’s NFT of his very first tweet last March, didn’t cough up nearly 3 million bucks for sentimental reasons, but who knows…
Big NFTS Projects On The fly
The company has big projects, like expanding its destinations (Thailand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and more are planned), or pooling bulk advanced purchases of hotel nights. We don’t know how secure is the scheme: a new token always represents risks. So here comes our disclaimer: this article is not an endorsement, nor a disendorsement, for that matter (apologies for the neologism), of the travel futures club’s project. The fact is that NFTs are a new trend in the travel industry: Delhi-based company Tokenites will launch its NFT booking platform’s mainnnet by the first quarter of 2022, and much as travel futures, it mixes hotel bookings with investment opportunities. They actually plan for NFTs (booking) holders to be able to resell them to major OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), not only to peers, increasing the possibility of making a profit on early booking. Holiday time-sharing is also on the NFT gravy train (funky, eh?): last July, Labs Group, a real estate investment group from Hong Kong, auctioned 30 years time-sharing rights to a soon-to-open glamping resort near Banyuwangi and the Ijen volcano in East Java. The NFTs, each representing a night stay per year for 30 years at the Kunang-Kunang (firefly) resort, are now on sale on the refinable platform at 10 BNBs per unit. Another case in hospitality was the auction of a pre-opening stay for 1 night in full exclusivity, organized by Ca’ di Dio hotel in Venice (the Italian one) on the Opensea NFT platform last August. The winner paid over 3,000 US$, dinner included.
The NFTs Influence
We bet others will follow… Many probably already have, actually; it’s hard to keep track of the craze. Are NFTs here to stay in the travel industry? Let us humbly declare that we don’t have a clue… But considering the money being poured not only into NFTs, but the whole blockchain ecosystem right now by big techs all around the planet, in the fields of product tracing, chain supply, document authenticity, fintech, and now travel, it could well be. Although what will crack it, still ioho, is influencers posting NFTs on Instagram, instead of infinity pools pics; if boomers follow suit on Facebook, we will have a winner…