By now, I am sure you have heard about NFT, which stands for non-fungible token. Let's have a little recap of this.
Non-fungible means something unique and cannot be exchanged for anything else. For instance, Bitcoin is fungible, meaning you can exchange one Bitcoin for another. For instance, your favorite limited edition football player's card is an example of a non-fungible commodity.
In summary, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) serve as ownership proof for digital (and occasionally physical) material by being tied to cryptographically distinct tokens.
NFTs prove ownership by showing immutable public transactions on the blockchain. The blockchain lets you view the originator, the quantity, and the precise day and time it was minted. Although the underlying asset may theoretically be fake, blockchain data exposes these attempts.
The whole idea behind NFTs is digital ownership. People need a way to prove that they own something. The value of an NFT isn't on the attached artwork. What is more, important is establishing ownership of that particular asset.
For instance, Jack Dorsey's first tweet reads, "just setting up my twttr, " he posted on March 21, 2006.
He sold the tweet as a non-fungible token (NFT) to a Malaysian businessman for the equivalent of $2.9 million (£2.1 million).
The tweet is publicly online, so anyone can see it or even take a screenshot. Why would anyone want to own it?
Well, to answer this question, he didn't purchase the tweet. He bought a digital certificate for the tweet, which contains a unique fingerprint and token name. This is unique because it has been signed and verified by the creator. It's more like buying an autograph. Crazy right?
Now that we established the fundamental notion of NFT, let's move on to exploring more cutting-edge applications for NFTs, precisely machine NFTs.
Losing a Job to Automation
Before going forward, let me tell you a little story about my uncle. Hopefully, the story will serve as a foundation for understanding the idea behind machine NFTs.
My uncle lives in South Africa and is currently in his 60s without any source of income. He has no marketable skill; he used to be a factory worker doing mundane tasks.
He lost his job when the factory decided to automate most of its mundane processes. For ages, machines and automation have rendered many jobs redundant. The spinning Jenny replaced the weavers, buttons replaced elevator operators, and the internet replaced local travel companies.
The thought of being able to replace a human with a computer and robot is alluring to businesses trying to save money.
Robots are faster than humans and make fewer mistakes. They can labor around the clock with little to no salary or perks. Robots can also be advantageous to workers since they can quickly complete boring, dangerous, or repetitive tasks, leaving fascinating work to people.
According to one study, from 1990 to 2007, automation is thought to have eliminated around 400,000 employments from American factories. However, the push to replace people with machinery is rising as businesses fight to prevent COVID-19 workplace infections and maintain low operating expenses.
Self-driving cars have the potential to replace millions of bus drivers, cab drivers, truck drivers, and other transportation workers, which would have a stunning negative impact on employment. Computer-controlled robots are replacing occupations that require packing or carrying items.
Automation Becomes More Accessible
Anyone can program robots from Rethink Robotics' Baxter and Sawyer. They do not require a professional technician to program the robot to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to it. More firms will use these robots in their environments as they get smarter and cheaper.
Some brands are currently developing and using devices to replace bartenders who serve alcoholic beverages or coffee. Services like Briggo are replacing baristas with robots to make many popular drinks and even learn how to make new drinks.
Many pharmacies are replacing pharmacists with robots that can separate and handle medications for customers. These robots aid in preventing errors, and because they only require a limited space for robotic arms, they can also have a smaller footprint than their human counterparts.
These automation and innovations are actually welcome developments. The only problem is, who profits from them, and who doesn't. Automation is an issue we must view from the human perspective, not simply as a tool for increasing profit margins.
To have the needed balance, we need a way for people to still profit from this automation, not outrightly displacing them of their sole means of income. My uncle and several others were significantly affected by this era of automation, and things need to change.
Machine NFTs can Help
With the Web3 era, things need to change, and this change is being ushered in by Peaq through machine NFTs. They will ensure that people still have profit, ownership, and governance rights in this autonomous age.
A machine NFT is a contract on a public ledger that proves ownership of a device, a pool of machines, or fractions of a machine. With machine NFT, anyone can verify that they own a machine or a stake in a machine without needing a centralized authority.
Let me use this instance to explain it even better. When you bought your first car, the seller gave you some documents, and you signed most of them, which served as socially agreed-upon documentation with the government to prove that you own the car.
In the case of machine NFTs, it is not rooted in a government stamp but a math/code stamp. Any person, anywhere, can independently verify the originality and validity of the contract by checking with the math instead of checking with the traditional authorities. Anyone with an internet connection can own a piece of the machine economy; thus, the more machines do, the more machine NFT holders gain.
Consider the Uber Scenario
What if communities owned the autonomous vehicles in their community collectively? Every community member would receive a portion of the vehicle's ride fares. When demand for trips is low, the community may choose to sell data collected by the vehicles for additional income or to allow them to deliver packages and groceries. The devices would generate passive money for the community, which may cover the price of using those same services.
Without the need for Big Tech intermediaries, everyone in a community can extract increasing value from the machines that keep things operating. While robots work, humans can devote their time to more meaningful or creative tasks without fear of losing their jobs.
Machine NFTs are genuine entities that create revenue because they reflect real-life machines that provide goods and services to humans and other devices. It gives a stake in the machines that power the economy to investors, makers, owners, consumers, and the machines themselves. It also empowers machines to be fully financially self-sufficient and able to sustain, maintain and improve themselves in the economy's best interests.
Peaq is currently building this technology; there's still a lot of research going on, and it's rapidly evolving and heading to serious mainstream adoption.