• Panelists say brands’ use of NFTs must be authentic, as they think beyond marketing
  • Regulatory challenges may stymie progress for practical application of NFT

The future of NFTs is going to be centered on items, according to Calvin Chan, founder and CEO of Legitimate, an ecosystem that links physical products to digital identities. 

“We work with brands…to see not just how we can bake Web3 into your retail strategy but also into your retail products,” Chan said during a panel discussion at the Avalanche Summit in Barcelona. “It’s so often that a brand’s attempt to come into the NFT space is inauthentic, it’s marketing.” 

Chan pointed to recent attempts by companies like Clinique and Asics to use NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for branding initiatives. Brands should think beyond marketing, he said, and look at NFTs as a tool to revolutionize how consumers think about authenticity and identity. 

“If we think about blockchain technology as a whole, most folks assume blockchain is great for privacy, it is great for ownership,” said Jonathan Padilla, CEO and co-founder of Snickerdoodle Labs, which provides data and privacy services, during the panel.

“It’s now economically viable to produce something that you can have the provenance for, for a few cents, that’s really the benefit of NFTs.” 

Creators now have an entirely new way to verify their work with blockchain technology, something that previously would have been a lengthy and expensive legal process, Padilla added. 

Beyond ownership, Chan said, is the ability for individuals to create digital identities through NFTs. 

“There is this idea that ownership enhances enjoyment of an asset,” said Harold Eytan, CEO of digital art collection Particle, during the discussion. Seeing art in a museum is a great experience for many people, but it pales in comparison to the joy of owning the work, he added. 

But as great as it all sounds, there are challenges associated with establishing proof of ownership, the panelists acknowledged. 

“It comes down to the friction point that’s endemic across all blockchain; it is the technology advancing at light speed, and legal and regulatory advancements moving at the speed of glaciers,” said Padilla. “Once you have adjudication in the courts and other types of bodies that can verify this, this is going to be super critical.” 

It’s a major infrastructure problem as well, Chan said, pointing to the recent issues with Twitter’s authenticity tool

“Fundamentally, one of the mistakes that I see a lot of projects and designers making is projecting Web3 technology on Web2 experiences,” Chan said. “Using any profile picture as an avatar, that might not be what NFTs look like in the next few years.”


Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Casey Wagner is a New York-based business journalist covering regulation, legislation, digital asset investment firms, market structure, central banks and governments, and CBDCs. Prior to joining Blockworks, she reported on markets at Bloomberg News. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Media Studies. Contact Casey via email at [email protected]