Using NFTs to Manage Subscriptions

The use cases surrounding NFTs are continually evolving. We have covered in previous articles how NFTs are used in Supply Chain Management and gaming

Here we discuss NFT subscriptions and the possibilities of using NFTs to manage subscriptions.

NFTs Perfectly Built for Managing Subscriptions

NFTs provide two types of authentication. The first authentication is knowing that it is an original version. The second type of authentication is ownership and there is a single owner of that NFT. These characteristics of NFTs make them unique. The fact they are on the blockchain makes them verifiable. This opens up the ability to use them to manage content behind paywalls.

The Current Subscription-based Approach 

Telecom companies paved the way for the subscription model. Quickly followed by music and video streaming services. The subscription model prioritizes usage over the acquisition of goods. This gave a new perspective on ownership and service use. Financially, this reduces the upfront costs. The desire to pay only for what you consume became appealing.

However, there are some drawbacks. Subscription traps by companies are common. Consumers can find it difficult to cancel subscriptions. Canceling via a bank does not mean that a subscription qualifies as a cancellation. In some cases, the full costs of recurring payments are not provided to consumers at the point of authorization. The terms and conditions are cumbersome to read and key information is often buried.

Enter NFTs to Manage Subscriptions

The subscription model is already mainstream. Companies are comfortable selling and provisioning services. As the competition for customers heats up, companies should look for an edge to retain those customers. Companies that embrace NFT subscriptions could get ahead. But how?

NFT Subscriptions Could Allow Exclusives and Feature Unlocks

The blockchain allows NFT ownership authentication and verification. Businesses have a direct relationship with their customer. The Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana has experimented with NFTs. Nine NFTs are up for sale on the UNXD platform. The consumers who purchased the NFTs also received the physical items. In addition to the purchase, D&G gave NFT holders privileged and exclusive access to brand events.

This built brand loyalty, and an exclusive VIP club for branded NFT holders was born. It also gave the company a chance to adopt and experiment with new technology. Furthermore, the brand accumulated $5.65 million for this collection.

Using NFT Subscriptions to Manage IPs and Royalties

Intellectual property (IP) rights consist of a body of rights that are created by law to protect creative works. Royalties, on the other hand, are payments made to the copyright holder. The use of the creative work triggers a royalty payment back to the creator.

Electronic musician Jacques Green had his track from 2011 netting around $27,000 in royalties. Mike Winkelmann, the artist known as Beeple, is another example. He made news by selling his artwork for a huge sum of money. The NFT smart contract issued a 10% royalty from each subsequent sale. NFT subscriptions could have also royalties built in. Subscriptions could be resold by one subscriber to another.

This would give some money back to the service provider. In addition, the high customer acquisition costs would go down. This results in a continuous stream of customers for NFT subscription-based businesses.

NFT Subscriptions and Airdrops

Airdrops are often used to create additional value or draw attention to an experience or brand. They are particularly useful as a free promotion. The VeeFriends collection by Gary Vaynerchuck is a great example. Holders of VeeFriends get access to unique mini drops. The airdrops so far have included projects between artists and publishers of video games and other NFTs with various levels of utility.

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The holders of these NFTs can then profit from their drops by selling them on OpenSea and other markets. The community gains from the extra value of these secondary sales in addition to the rewards that holders can receive. An NFT subscription could provide such airdrops. Airdrops are a quick and easy way to create buzz around a brand, product, or service.

The Interoperability of NFT Subscriptions

Connecting and exchanging NFTs is possible as they exist on the blockchain. As discussed previously, ownership is inherently built in. Using gaming as an example, players can give ownership of assets to another player. Game giant Ubisoft is using NFTs with its popular game Ghost Recon Wildlands. Using the Tezos blockchain, PC players can buy skins and other cosmetic items. The gamers can use the skins on their account and then later sell them for real money.

Another is example is Clinique. They ran a competition for its loyalty program members. Clinique offered a limited edition NFT to three lucky winners. The NFT gave the winners access to various products each year for the next decade.

The use of NFTs allows brands to design a captivating and distinctive experience. In addition, NFT subscription businesses could use the interoperability of NFTs. A loyal customer could receive an NFT coupon or voucher via an airdrop. They could pass this NFT on to a friend. Thus, bringing other customers into a brand’s ecosystem.

Performance-based NFT Subscriptions

A static NFT, such as a pfp, cannot be altered. Their data or traits are recorded on the blockchain. Simple NFTs cannot evolve. Dynamic NFTs, however, can change. Their metadata can transform based on varying conditions. That can include the passage of time, interactions with other NFTs, and external data.

In 2021, Playground Studios launched a set of collectible NFTs for LaMelo Ball, the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year. The NFTs would evolve according to data about his performance. The NFTs interacted with Chainlink’s Sports Data Feeds. Holders were in control and could choose how they transformed their NFTs. They could pick between two actions – assisting a shot or stealing the ball from an opponent. If thresholds were met, an NFT avatar could transform.

NFT service-based businesses could use this dynamism to their advantage. NFT subscription-based businesses could engage, gamify, and reward holders based on performance. As data points mature, the possibilities are endless.

Evolving Passes for NFT Subscription Businesses

Tickets and ticketing are a great use for NFTs. Using NFTs for gated access and experiences is growing. Such an example is the Proof Collective Pass. Holding the NFT gives access to a members-only Discord. Organizations, such as CDAA, are using an NFT as certification proof.

Members can’t buy the NFT. Members obtain it by earning their certification. Once earned, the NFT doesn’t expire for a year. NFT subscription-based businesses could have access and expiry built into their smart contracts.


The use cases for NFT subscription-based businesses are strong. NFTs could reduce dependence on central payment processors. This is in addition to all the previously mentioned examples. Brands could equip customers to recruit new customers. Companies could engage, reward, and interact with customers like never before. Business offerings could evolve quickly and efficiently. Brands can tap into cultural trends rapidly.

Collaboration can open doors to new opportunities. Cross-selling and upselling is easier. This will give companies an edge over their competitors. Current Web2 businesses don’t provide many extras beyond their subscription services. Companies like Netflix, Spotify, and the Wall Street Journal could lose out to Web3 brands.

Finally, the current onboarding is cumbersome, and we are only just scratching the surface of what is possible. The future looks extremely bright for NFT subscription businesses and those that embrace the approach.

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