The RC Q&A: Merav Ozair

Rutgers University’s resident blockchain and crypto expert weighs in on the benefits of taking NFTs into the physical world.

3 min readJan 8, 2022

What do you make of this growing trend of NFTs being tied to physical objects?

I’ve been saying for a long time that the possibilities with NFTs are boundless because you can NFT anything — physical or digital. The power of NFTs when it comes to physical items is the authentication of ownership. NFTs facilitate things we simply can’t do in the physical world. Let’s say I’m giving you the rights to an expensive bottle of alcohol. Normally, you’d have to go to a notary, which involves time, attorneys, and money. In the digital world, the process is much easier. NFTs have opened up so many opportunities for people to monetize new revenue streams. You can NFT an apartment or a car without necessarily having to “hold” the physical one.

Increasingly, brands are dipping into the world of NFTs. Any particularly successful cases?

We’re just at the beginning of the phenomenon, so I can’t really say anything has been particularly successful. However, there are a lot of good ideas, like what Mark Cuban is trying to do with the Dallas Mavericks. He’s attaching an NFT to tickets, which means he’s incentivizing people to come to the games while also creating a whole new — and likely much younger — fan base. Dave and Buster’s is doing a similar thing with their food experience to convince people to come back to the restaurant and spend more money. It’s very exciting.

How can companies and creators best leverage NFTs? And how will they know the technology is right for them?

Every business can find a way to utilize NFTs. Using the example of the Mavericks, I wouldn’t be surprised if other sports teams get into it. They want fans coming back to the stadiums, right? And you can see how this would easily apply to other events, like concerts. Say a band sells a certain number of tickets and then NFTs the rest. Unlike with a simple paper ticket, value can be added to those after the fact. A few of the NFTs that are allocated to a select number of winners might include a special signature. A fan can keep it or transfer it, and it might end up being a good investment. With businesses, it’s really about seeing the potential for value increase. As time goes on, an NFT tied to something memorable can see its value go up.

What makes NFTs a unique vehicle for community building?

NFTs aren’t just about membership, though that is part of it. You can tie anything you want to an NFT, which is, in part, the origin of so many communities. It creates a whole new world of communication and connection. In the case of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), you create an experience where everyone in that group can manage and govern and add to the community. You can also tie any experience to an NFT or document any event in your life with them. You can transfer them. They can live on the blockchain forever and ever. They’re immutable.

How do you see the way NFTs are being used evolving in the future?

I can see more and more use cases, like events and opportunities for sports teams and food brands. We’ll likely see more on the business side of things. NFTs aren’t just for fun or collectability, and they’re not just a gimmick.

Written by: Katie Underwood