Qantas soars into the crypto world with NFT release

Qantas is entering the non-fungible token (NFT) space, revealing plans to release its own series of branded digital art collectibles in the middle of this year.

From today, frequent flyers with a bent for crypto can register their interest in what the airline describes as “a new way to own a piece of Qantas history”.

As a tease of what digital art might be offered, the Qantas NFT website sports a graphic showing a split image of its iconic Boeing 747 in two familiar liveries.

Using blockchain technology, which is a digital ledger used to show the provenance of an asset, each artwork will be one-of-a-kind, allowing people to buy, own, collect and sell the tokens.

NFTs represent a growing and valuable slice of the crypto-trading market, with one token in the popular Bored Ape series recently selling for the equivalent of US$2.8 million.

Qantas is not the first airline to enter the booming NFT market: airBaltic jumped onto the hype-wagon in 2021 with a series of artworks featuring its Airbus A220 aircraft soaring above various Latvian cities.

However, in what is said to be a world first, Qantas states the initial buyer of each NFT will also earn Qantas Points on the purchase, with more benefits for the NFT holders yet to be revealed.

While sure to win some fans, the announcement has also taken many by surprise, particularly in relation to the environmental impact of owning and creating NFTs, as well as the rise of copycat artworks.

The timing is interesting too, given Qantas earlier this month launched its Qantas Green status tier as a way to reward customers for making earth-conscious decisions.

It seems the airline anticipated this though, with its website stating: “Qantas NFTs will be released with net zero emissions, using low-carbon platforms and carbon offsetting.”

Further details of the Qantas NFTs will be unveiled soon.