The blockchain future continues to unfold as Japan’s largest airline group holding company, All Nippon Airways (ANA), embraces the technology by launching a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace on the Ethereum blockchain. This move signifies ANA’s attempt to explore new ways to engage with customers and capitalize on the booming NFT market. The ANA GranWhale NFT Marketplace, created by ANA NEO, the subsidiary specializing in digital experiences, offers aviation photography, digital collectibles and more.
Initially, the marketplace supports payments through MetaMask wallet and fiat currency via credit card, making it easier for enthusiasts to acquire NFTs. Works of aviation photographer Luke Ozawa are among the first NFT collection on the site, along with customized digital 3D airplanes, including a Boeing 787 and a generative art collection named Airbits.
While the integration of NFTs into the aviation industry offers exciting opportunities for both airlines and their customers, skeptics question the necessity of combining these two seemingly unrelated sectors. The potential benefits may include increased consumer interest and potential revenue streams; however, it may be argued that ANA and other airlines should prioritize improving core operations and maintain focus on providing customers with safe, comfortable travel experiences rather than exploring unrelated technologies.
Regardless of this debate, ANA is not the only airline exploring crypto-related concepts. Low-cost Argentinian airline expanded its partnership with NFT ticketing company TravelX to offer e-tickets as NFTs on the Algorand blockchain, and TravelX partnered with Spanish airline Air Europa to introduce NFT tickets with special perks and events. Furthermore, Latin American crypto exchange Lemon integrated TravelX onto its platform, enabling users to buy and sell airline tickets using cryptocurrency.
ANA Holdings, established in 2013, is made up of 69 companies, including ANA and Peach Aviation. Its subsidiary ANA NEO is also working on a metaverse travel experience called ANA Gran Whale, which aims to integrate passengers’ flight histories into their digital avatars.
In conclusion, the ANA NFT Marketplace and other crypto-based initiatives of airlines represent an innovative effort to engage with customers and create new business opportunities. However, a level of skepticism remains as some argue the focus should remain on core operations and customer satisfaction. The future will reveal whether the fusion of blockchain technology and aviation will truly take off, opening up new frontiers for travel enthusiasts and crypto fans alike.