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Lotus releases non-fungible tokens for customers and crypto fans

It seems to be the modern trend among automakers nowadays

Well, we don't know what form the NFT will take, but expect 'crypto bros' to eat it up like dog food. IMAGE FROM LOTUS

The world isn’t a kind place for Lotus purists at the moment. First, they had to stomach the news that the Chinese-owned sports-car maker was launching an electric SUV, and now the British firm is moving in a direction few people will have seen it going. Lotus, ladies and gentlemen, is launching its own NFT collection.

Please don’t ask why, as there isn’t really any logical reason why any automaker would veer into this space, apart from everyone seemingly doing it now. So, Lotus obviously doesn’t want to feel left out and decided to partner with a firm called NFT PRO to launch some digital art or tokens of some sort on the Ripple blockchain.

There are games that let you actually own the car (in NFT form) you'll use to race in it. SCREENSHOT FROM OPENSEA

In case you’re not sure what NFTs are, the three letters stand for Non-Fungible Tokens and basically describe unique digital assets that can be anything from digital art to certificates of authenticity. NFTs as a concept aren’t a bad idea, and there are many legitimate uses.

For example, you could use them to prove your own property, and some companies are now developing games where players own part of it. This means you could be playing a racing game where you own the car or bike you’re using to race, and where you can sell it on, too.

Wouldn't owning scale models of these cars be more satisfying? SCREENSHOT FROM MOTOBLOQ

Sadly, there are also many pointless uses of NFTs, and the collection about to be thrust onto the world by the people in Norwich, England, appears to fall into this category. The press release is brimming with fancy buzzwords like web3 and crypto fans, but there’s nothing concrete in it that would indicate real usefulness. Just that it will hold “exciting new opportunities” for Lotus customers and people into digital art made up of downloadable JPEGs. The company also hasn’t revealed what the actual NFTs are or will look like, which is never a good sign.

Other manufacturers have opted to go down the digital artwork route with their own NFTs. PHOTOS FROM NISSAN AND MERCEDES-BENZ

Of course, Lotus isn’t the first car company jumping onto the digital token bandwagon. Many others are dabbling in the space, including Lamborghini, and most efforts are poor to mediocre at best. It’s almost as if the gray-haired gentlemen in the boardroom feel a need to be down with the younger tech crowd, and grasp at the nearest non-fungible straw handed to them by some commercially astute digital consultants. This is a bit of a shame, really, as things like NFTs hold the potential to be much more than Bored Apes or tiny pieces of carbon-fiber rubbish that were shot into space.

Lotus says its NFTs will allow “creators and collectors to come together and experience Lotus Cars in a new and exciting environment,” and that more will be revealed later this month. But the betting is that we will be looking at some digital art, and the exciting environment will be a blockchain wallet on your phone.

Maybe we’re wrong, and the legendary firm that brought the world the mantra of “simplify then add lightness” will surprise us with something really cool and useful. We’re certainly hoping for it.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.