According to simpleflying, Japan’s largest airline group, All Nippon Airways (ANA) Group, has announced its venture into the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) market, following other airlines including airBaltic, Qantas, and Etihad Airways. ANA’s bold move, launched via its subsidiary, ANA NEO, signals the latest phase of the ongoing trend of airlines utilizing blockchain technologies.
NFTs, unique digital tokens stored on blockchain, have exploded in popularity over the past year, gaining traction primarily in the arts and music sectors. Now, the aviation industry is jumping on board, exploring how these digital assets can provide additional value and engagement opportunities to their customer base.
Following the trend initiated by Etihad Airways with their “EY-ZERO1” collection, featuring 3D models of their Boeing 787 Dreamliner liveries, ANA is set to release a range of aviation-themed NFT products. The key platform for these initiatives will be the “ANA GranWhale NFT MarketPlace”, a part of ANA NEO’s virtual travel platform.
The move towards a more immersive, digital travel experience is reflected in the emergence of the ‘metaverse’, a virtual reality space where users can interact in a simulated environment. ANA’s decision to leverage its virtual travel platform, ANA GranWhale, to launch their NFT business showcases the company’s innovative approach towards providing unique customer experiences in this emerging digital space.
At launch, ANA offered 267 NFTs for sale, including works by aviation photographer Luke Ozawa, each costing $717 USD. The company plans to expand its offerings, with over 1,500 additional NFTs set to go on sale, including two digital 3D renderings of ANA’s Boeing 787s.
While ANA is the latest airline to move into the digital asset market, it certainly isn’t the first. airBaltic, for instance, has been at the forefront of embracing blockchain technology, accepting Bitcoin as a payment method since 2014, and launching its own NFT collection in 2021. Etihad Airways and Qantas have also entered the space, offering their own unique collections of digital assets.