NFT Key: A dApp Unlocking Services By Tracking Digital Asset Ownership

Non-fungible tokens have been around for a while. Better known by the acronym NFTs, these uniquely identifiable cryptographic assets represent scarcity in the cut-and-paste world of computers and the internet. Frequently, NFTs are used to express ownership of digital items. The first widely successful use case of the tech is likely Crypto Kitties. The Tamagotchi-style game established the notion of digital collectibles despite the skepticism of critics.

However, many were likely unfamiliar with the technology before the cryptocurrency run-up of 2020 and 2021. That quickly changed as artists, collectors, and entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban began employing the technology. Commentators meanwhile warned of a bubble as Beeple’s “Everydays—The First 5000 Days” JPG sold for $69 million.

Yet, beyond the novelty and speculation, substantial innovation is occurring in the space. In the Ethereum ecosystem, NFT marketplaces like OpenSea are supporting robust transaction growth as popularity skyrockets. Perhaps more unique, startup UpShot is developing an incentivized platform for crowdsourcing digital art appraisals in an under-curated market.

A smart contract platform, Cardano is poised to further the adoption of NFT technology. Numerous developers are leveraging the blockchain’s lightweight infrastructure in so doing. On the other hand, NFT Key is focusing on Cardano’s future. The duo behind the project looks to verify and track NFT ownership, creating a desirable ecosystem for other developers with their Fund 5 proposal.

NFT Use Cases & NFT Key

NFTs are commonly considered a way to represent and securitize assets–existing in either cyberspace or the real world–on the internet. This particular use case has implications for collectibles, art, and may even facilitate real estate transactions in the not-so-distant future. Numerous crypto influencers and writers also expect the innovation to transform in-game assets and video game-associated marketplaces.

This entry-level understanding, however, underplays the potential scope of the smart contract primitive. For instance, Dr. Lars Brünjes exemplified numerous practical, albeit low-level, NFT use cases throughout the Plutus Pioneers coursework earlier this year. The IOHK Education Director explained how an NFT’s uniqueness can be leveraged to verify oracle data feeds as well as identify liquidity staking pools and track state machines. At a higher level, the programmability of NFTs may lead to more equitable royalty arrangements for creators.

That said, the technology is in its infancy, and other avenues of innovation remain entirely untapped. NFT Key, a project applying for Fund 5, highlights this in their Project Catalyst proposal. True to name, NFT Key looks to develop a service that will verify and track ownership of NFTs in the Cardano ecosystem and unlock relevant services. Using ownership information available from the blockfrost.io API, the service will provide a means to access privileges contingent upon NFT ownership. For example, gamers could gain access to VIP in-game activities by holding, say, the relevant community token NFT and leveraging the NFT Key platform.

The process by which this occurs is relatively technical but is described under “Technical Details” in the team’s proposal.

The Team

NFT Key is headed by two veteran Cardano members, Cardano Dan and Chris from Reliable Staking. According to his website and socials, Cardano Dan has been active in the Cardano ecosystem since 2019. The entrepreneur runs the cardanodan.com merch shop as well as the DAN stake pool. DAN has an active stake of 36 million Ada, a pledge of 100 thousand Ada for a leverage ratio of 35,900 percent, and a Lifetime Luck of 99 percent. He also authors Cardano Dan’s Newsletter, where he discusses market conditions, ecosystem updates, macroeconomics, and more.

Chris, on the other hand, operates the Reliable Staking pool, ticker RELY. The pool has an active stake of 12.5 million Ada, a pledge of 75 thousand Ada for a leverage ratio of 16,567 percent, and a Lifetime Luck of 96 percent.

According to the proposal, the duo also co-founded a social-media startup and has extensive experience in software and IT. The team also has access to additional personnel to help them across the finish line.

Finally, fans of Crypto Over Coffee, a Cardano-friendly blockchain podcast, will appreciate that host Hashoshi gave a shoutout to the proposal in his most recent episode. There, the podcaster noted:

“The reason I decided to shout out NFT Key on video is because the idea is one that I think has a lot of merit as a composable element of applications on Cardano in the future.”

Overall, Hashoshi seems excited about the project.

Proposal Details

NFT Key’s Fund 5 proposal seeks $50,000 in Ada. The team plans to allocate funds as follows:

  • $10,000 to front-end development
  • $15,000 to back-end development
  • $10,000 for marketing and business purposes
  • $12,000 for ongoing operations for 12 months
  • $2,500 for hosting, tools, and services
  • $2,500 for reserves

Dan and Chris also provided a detailed schedule. Within two months of receiving funds, the duo plans to launch basic services. Open-sourced integration will follow after three months. Marketing and business development will occur continuously throughout the first six months of the project. Overall, the duo will support the project for the first twelve months of operation and assess the project’s future at the end of the term.

NFT Key also plans to remain active in the community. They will continue working with Blockfrost and Five Binaries while exploring avenues of collaboration with NFT-DAO. Also, they plan to collaborate with other SPOs and Project Catalyst proposals.

Finally, Chris and Dan have established several key milestones for their project. After three months, they hope to have an operational service with a working open-sourced integration example. By the six-month mark, they seek to have at least three projects integrating their service. Finally, after a year, they hope to see this number increase to twenty.

If you’d like to know more information or have questions/comments regarding the NFT Key proposal, check out the link provided: https://cardano.ideascale.com/a/dtd/NFT-Key/352020-48088

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