In November 2021, Alpine offered 5 NFTs representing 5 livery in a virtual model in the style of the Alpine GT, made by a young Russian. On February 9, 2022, Alfa Romeo offered to equip the new Tonale with an NFT for workshop monitoring certification. But what exactly is NFT?
Blockchain: a first important point
When two people sign a contract, each keeps a copy. If falsification of one of the two occurs, it cannot be said which contract is genuine. So one solution is to make a third copy. Except that in the case of forgery of two of the three copies, the original will pass the lie.
So consider making a thousand copies of this contract. It becomes more difficult to forge 999. If in addition, these 999 copies are encrypted and stored by third parties who cannot read it, then it is won. Contracts are tamper-proof.
The blockchain is this concept used on a larger scale and in the virtual universe. Suppose a file is not stored on one medium (server or hard disk in this case) but it is available in millions of copies on multiple servers. Each change produces a new file and the whole is encrypted.
Like giving millions of copies of the contract to millions of different people who can’t read it.
Blockchain is the technology used by crypto-currencies and in particular Ethereum. It is according to this blockchain pattern that NFTs are usually created.
Do you follow? Some are simpler, don’t worry.
What is NFT?
Under euphoria, we see NFT appearing everywhere, and for good reason, this non-fungible token as it is called (Non-Fungible Token) is a certified key. It can’t be copied or modified, it’s unique. From there, speculation can be good. Because NFT is just speculation and that is, brands understand this quickly and well: to sell an NFT is to sell a virtual that is easier to manage than a physical element.
More concretely, an NFT consists of three things:
- An identifier that makes it unique.
- A computer code (smart contract).
- Metadata including the specific link pointing to the file or job associated with it.
Suppose the link points to a file that no longer exists, then your NFT is worthless, because it points to the left. You can easily create NFTs, but the creation is not free. For good reason, storing and storing a file on a blockchain in memory costs and energy. Because the NFT miners ’computers do the work, you know, those third parties can’t read the copies of the contracts we mentioned in the beginning.
Finally, NFTs are tamper-proof and therefore impossible to modify. We’ll see later why this is important.
NFT and the car: a marketing story
The future of the car is moving towards electricity. An electric car that is almost a smartphone on wheels, it makes sense that trendy technology invites itself into the world of automobiles to show that brands are “in the game”. Sprinkling the presentation of a car with NFT is to show that the brand is not a relic of the past but in fact an element written into the future of the car.
But to what level is NFT interesting?
Alfa Romeo really got the ball rolling, combining car tracking security with this technology.
The idea is simple: any modification or maintenance of the vehicle can generate NFT. This allows tracking of the car and here, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. It is impossible to change the mileage, to avoid a shock and even we have information on the dates of the intervention.
No human intervention can damage the concept. Finally, on paper.
An almost good but weak idea to track
During the Victorian era, nitroglycerin had not yet been invented. Thus it is impossible to break a safe. The solution is to make copies of the keys to the locks.
NFT appears to be safe. To power the Alfa Romeo system, it is important to have your car serviced by Alfa Romeo and to perform NFT.
Knowing that NFT is irreversible, one has to do for each intervention, which is costly in financial and energy terms.
Now, let’s assume that’s not the case. That we made a marble in a car accident in an unofficial way. This intervention will no longer inform follow-up and traceability of NFT then will no longer be of value. Because NFT cannot be automated in the car. In fact, if human intervention is needed or just possible, the system can be weak. NFT is the original key. Overriding the system is equivalent to making a copy of the key that unlocks securely.
Metaverse, another use of NFT
In the early 2000s, the internet became more democratic. We talk with enthusiasts from all over the world on forums, we exchange knowledge, the internet is amazing and knowledge is just a click away. This virtual presence produces a fantasy: a virtual life. This is how Second Life is born with an idea: transcribing the real world into virtual reality. 3D spaces, avatars, shops. A virtual utopia is quickly being taken over by brands that have seen a new medium of communication. This contributed, among other things, to the abandonment of the idea.
Until last year and the will of Mark Zuckerberg, father of Facebook, to create a new virtual universe. The Metaverse. The difference? today, the technologies are clearly superior and the possibilities are greater. Metaverse allows the use of virtual elements including the famous NFT. That’s the whole idea: unique virtual creatures in a virtual universe as well.
Metaverse, the future of the car of the past?
Thermal vehicles will experience a reduction similar to film photography. However, Metaverse could be a way to save these machines, almost at the very least, by continuing to make them available in pixels. NFTs, for example, allow you to model your car model in 3D, down to the chassis number. We can even go ahead by allowing it to be used in video games, for example. Or create a thumbnail. NFT is then the virtual gray card of your virtual car. This is an example of use.
We can also use the concept of tracking, but on specific registers such as car rental. The car has all usage tracking.
The tools can be a lot unnecessary, at least for now.
But this car’s entry into this futuristic concept is above all more concrete than virtual proof that the car is going through the biggest transition since its inception.