the virtual one to help the car?

In November 2021, Alpine offered 5 NFTs representing 5 colors of an Alpine GT-style virtual model created by a young Russian. On February 9, 2022, Alfa Romeo offered to equip the new Tonale with an NFT to certify workshop monitoring. But what exactly is NFT?

Blockchain: a first important point

When two people sign a contract, each keeps a copy. If one of the two is forged, it is impossible to tell which contract is the real one. A solution therefore consists in making a third copy. Except that in case of forgery of two of the three copies, the original passes for the counterfeit.

So imagine making a thousand copies of this contract. It gets harder to fake 999. In addition, if these 999 copies are encrypted and kept by third parties who cannot read them, then it is won. Contracts are fraud proof.

The blockchain applies this concept on a much larger scale and in the virtual universe. Imagine that a file is not on a medium (in this case server or hard disk), but in millions of copies on as many servers. Each change leads to a new file and the whole thing is encrypted.

Kind of like entrusting millions of copies of the contract to millions of different people who can’t read it.

Blockchain is the technology used by crypto currencies and Ethereum in particular. It is by the standard of this blockchain that NFTs are generally created.

You follow ? The rest is easier, don’t worry.

What is NFT?

Under the euphoria, we have seen NFT pop up everywhere, and it is not for nothing that this non-fungible token as it is called (Non-Fungible Token) is a certified key. It cannot be copied or modified, it is unique. From there, the speculation can go well. Since the NFT is just speculation, the brands understood quickly and well: Selling an NFT is the virtual selling, which is easier to manage than a physical element.

More concretely, an NFT consists of three things:

  • An identification that makes it unique.
  • A computer code (smart contract).
  • Metadata including in particular the link pointing to the file or work with which it is associated.

Suppose the link points to a file that no longer exists, then your NFT is worth nothing, as it points to nothing. You can easily create NFTs, but creating is not free. It is not without reason that storing and storing a file on the blockchain in the memory costs energy. Because it’s the NFT miners’ computers that do the work, you know, those third parties that can’t read the copies of contracts we talked about in the beginning.

Finally, NFTs are fraud-resistant and therefore cannot be changed. We’ll see why this is important later.

NFT and the car: a marketing story

The future of the car is moving towards electric. Since an electric car is roughly a smartphone on wheels, it made sense that a trendy technology invited itself into the world of the car to show that the brands are “in the game”. By sprinkling the presentation of a vehicle with NFT, you show that the brand is not a relic of the past, but an element inscribed into the future of the car.

But at what level is the NFT interesting?

Alfa Romeo really got the ball rolling by combining vehicle tracking protection with this technology.

NFT, Metaverse and automotive: the virtual to help the car?

The idea is simple: any modification or maintenance to the vehicle generates an NFT. This allows tracking of the vehicle and here of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Impossible to change the mileage, omit a shock and we even have the information on the dates of intervention.

No human intervention can affect the concept. Finally on paper.

An almost good but fragile tracking idea

Nitroglycerin had not yet been invented in Victorian times. So it was impossible to crack a safe. The solution was to make copies of the keys to the locks.

The NFT appears as the vault. In order for the Alfa Romeo system to work, it is essential that your vehicle is maintained by Alfa Romeo and that the NFT is generated.

Knowing that the NFT cannot be adjusted, one will have to be created for each intervention, which is costly both financially and energy-wise.

Now let’s imagine that’s not the case. That we unofficially turn a marble into an accident vehicle. This intervention is never indicated in the follow-up and traceability of the NFT then no longer has any value. Because the NFT cannot be generated automatically by the vehicle. In fact, when human intervention is necessary or simply possible, the system becomes vulnerable. The NFT is the original key. Overwriting the system is tantamount to making a copy of the key that opens the safe.

The Metaverse, another use of NFT

In the early 2000s, the internet became more democratic. We discuss with enthusiasts from all over the world on forums, we exchange knowledge, the internet is beautiful and knowledge is just a click away. This virtual presence gave rise to a fantasy: a virtual life. This is how Second Life was born with the idea: to convert the real world into virtual reality. 3D spaces, avatars, shops. A virtual utopia that was quickly adopted by brands that saw a new medium of communication. This contributed, among other things, to the abandonment of the idea.

A car NFT
A car NFT

Until last year and the will of Mark Zuckerberg, father of Facebook, to create a new virtual universe. The Metavers. The difference ? today the technologies are clearly superior and the possibilities are therefore much greater. The Metaverse allows the use of virtual elements, including the famous NFT. That’s the whole idea: unique virtual creations in a universe that is also virtual.

Metaverse, the future of the car of yesteryear?

Thermal cars will experience a decline similar to that of film photography. However, the Metaverse would be a means of saving these machines, at least virtually, by allowing them to exist in pixels. With the NFTs you can, for example, model your car model in 3D, down to the chassis number. We can even go further by having it used in video games, for example. Or create a thumbnail. The NFT would then be the virtual gray card of your virtual car. This is a usage example.

We could also take up the concept of detection, but in specific registers such as car rental. The vehicle could track all usage.

The uses can be many without being essential, at least for now.

But the car’s foray into this futuristic concept is more concrete than virtual proof that the car is going through its greatest transition since its inception.

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