As the digital landscape continues to steer toward the evolution of Web3, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a big piece of the puzzle.
Maybe you’ve seen the headlines with NFTs selling for sometimes millions of dollars.
They’re not always that expensive, by the way. A lot of NFTs sell for just a few bucks, depending on the project.
However, before we go any further, what are NFTs exactly, and why should cannabis brands and consumers pay attention?
NFTs in a Nutshell
Essentially, NFTs are a proof of ownership, for both digital and real-world assets. From art and music to event tickets and real estate ownership.
When you buy an NFT, nobody can every dispute that you own it thanks to the security of blockchain technology.
Some NFT projects are silly and probably a waste of money. Other NFTs are indeed great investments that can include ongoing membership perks, discounts, and community access.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Samsung, and McDonald’s have all jumped into the NFT space.
Unfortunately, there are NFT scams out there, so people do need to exercise care when considering an NFT purchase. While the technology is inherently safe, issues mainly arise when NFT projects don’t follow up on their promises.
Vetting an NFT project is as easy as checking out its Twitter following and engagement. If something seems off, it probably is.
NFTs in the Cannabis World
As NFTs gain popularity in the cannabis world, more people are learning what all the fuss is about, and they’re seeing uncanny parallels between the early days of the cannabis movement and NFTs today.
Crypto Cannabis Club (CCC) has been leading the way in cannabis NFTs since July 2021 when they released their Genesis collection – 10,000 pieces of digital art that minted out within a week, notes Ryan Hunter, CEO at CCC.
“That was really the beginning of the project and what we've tried to establish as a social club for cannabis consumers that spans both virtual experiences as well as in real life (IRL).”
When someone buys a CCC NFT, they’re getting a cool piece of digital art, product discounts from CCC’s own cannabis brand in California, as well as discounts from dozens of accessory brands that have partnered with CCC. Above all, they’re getting exclusive access to a community of kindred spirits.
It's the community aspect that’s really drawing people into CCC with more than two dozen real-world chapters across the country and in other parts of the globe.
“Members of our community are getting together on their own organically having their own get-togethers and meetups to socialize and network, which is incredibly exciting,” Hunter says. “NFTs are basically a way for brands to engage with their most loyal customers.”
In the cannabis space, that engagement could include offers on exclusive products, special cultivars, special edition concentrates, as well as special events.
NFTs are also a potential marketing solution for cannabis brands looking for loopholes in all those online advertising restrictions. Instead of promoting a cannabis product, you can promote the NFT.
NFTs and the Power of Community
People approach NFTs for a few different reasons, Hunter says. “Some just love the art, just like in the IRL art world. Some see the art as an investment that will increase in value over time, but then a lot of people are approaching NFTs out of a sense of community.”
NFT communities mostly start online. Initially Discord was the primary meeting ground, and now a lot of the NFT community action has migrated over to Twitter and other social channels. You’ll see a lot of people promoting their NFTs in these spaces, however it’s only the authentic efforts that bring people together in a community.
“Those environments really create a natural platform for online communities. And our real-world experiences are an extension of that,” Hunter says. “We love seeing our community members in the real world. We have folks that go to all of these events and travel to see one another. They’ve formed some really great friendships.”
CCC chapters have arranged parties at the Indianapolis 500 and in South Florida, for example. CCC has also arranged meetups at big events like MJBizCon, NFT NYC, and Art Basel, as well as organizing standalone events such as a spring break trip in Playa Del Carmen and a 4/20 celebration in downtown LA.
These people are finding connectivity around a vibe, around the art, and around the culture, Hunter continues.
“Just like we've seen for decades with stoners wanting to get together to hang out and sesh and go to concerts and things like that. It's a natural extension of NFTs as well as the cannabis community itself.”
NFTs: More Than Just a JPEG
Just like with cannabis, there’s a learning curve around NFTs, and it’s up to brands to put together compelling NFT offers and to educate people on how it all works.
It’s a learning curve worth embracing if you don’t want to get left behind in the evolution of Web3, and groups like CCC are helping lead the way.
“It's the community that excites me the most. We have some really amazing people in our community and as I've traveled, and hosted most of these events myself, I've been able to meet people and catch up with the folks who come to a lot of our events,” Hunter says.
“Getting to catch up with our members and hear how they’re doing – that what really jazzes me, that’s what gets me most excited.”
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