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Qantas to sell controversial NFTs

written by Adam Thorn | March 21, 2022

Qantas is set to enter the controversial world of NFTs, which are a new form of collectable, digital art.

The airline is currently asking users to register their interest ahead of a mid-year release.

So-called non-fungible tokens are seen by some as an innovative way for artists to make money, but by others as a scam, because these can sell for millions, yet be easily replicated. Already, the move has received a mixed response on social media.

NFTs can trace their history back to 2014, but gained notoriety after one piece of artwork, called Everydays – The First 5000 Days by American artist Mike Winkelmann sold for US$69 million at Christie’s in March 2021.

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Those who purchase NFTs are known as the legal owners and can sell and transfer the asset. However, many can be easily and effectively replicated, in much the same way as images on the internet can be copied and pasted.

Qantas said on Monday it was “looking to the future” with a “next collection of memorabilia”.

“Using blockchain technology, each piece of digital artwork will be one-of-a-kind allowing you to buy, own, collect and sell your unique tokens,” read the publicity website.

“In a world-first, the initial buyer of a Qantas NFT will be able to earn Qantas Points, with more exciting future benefits for Qantas NFT holders underway.”

Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said, “From model aircraft to posters and boarding passes, people have been collecting pieces of Qantas history for more than 100 years and we know how much our customers love having their own unique piece of the national carrier.

“A Qantas NFT collection allows us to engage the next generation of aviation and digital art enthusiasts, leveraging blockchain technology to celebrate our heritage and future.”

Qantas’ move into NFTs comes after it launched online frequent flyer points auctions during COVID for aviation enthusiasts.

One frequent flyer dropped two million points on two used A380 business class seats, as well as The Block serial bidder Danny Wallis, who spent more than six million points on two money-can’t-buy experiences.

Wallis spent 1,200,001 frequent flyer points on a 787 Dreamliner simulator experience and then, splashed 4,848,484 points to claim an exclusive private charter experience from Melbourne to Tasmania for himself and up to 30 others on a QantasLink Dash 8.

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