People talk a lot about whether or not NFTs can be used in the real world. But just because there is a use case does not mean that it should be used.
While Facebook works on bringing NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for digital art to its users, two new NFT use cases made headlines this week, but for very different reasons. NFTs gave patients control over their medical information, but an Amazon rainforest preservation NFT is having trouble explaining how it got the land it is selling.
A blockchain healthcare company called MaPay and the Drexel University College of Medicine are using the layer-1 blockchain Algorand to store medical information about patients as NFTs. At the moment, health care providers keep their own medical records, which makes getting paper records expensive and time-consuming and leads to the sale of patients’ medical information.
At their most basic level, NFTs store and track who owns digital goods without the help of any other parties. The proposal says that putting healthcare data on the blockchain will give patients more control over their information and make it easier to find.
Charles Cairns, who is the vice president of the medical school at Drexel, says that blockchain technology is the future of the medical field.
“This effort will make a huge difference, especially in underserved areas.” It’s not a matter of if something should be done or not. After the alliance was announced, Cairns said, “It is the right thing to do for the future of medicine.”
The “land that can’t be changed” of Nemus
Nemus, an NFT mint that works to protect the Amazon rainforest, is in deep trouble because a Brazilian prosecutor is looking into the company’s land holdings in the Amazon.
CEO Flavio De Meira Penna runs a lot of businesses in Brazil that are all about protecting the rainforest. Nemus says it owns 100,000 acres of Amazon rainforest and wants to buy more with the money from selling NFTs. When asked for proof that the company owns the property, no proof was given.
Users can buy NFTs that look like pieces of land on a map. They do this with the hope that Nemus will protect the land and the people who live there.
Due to the limitations of Brazilian law, Nemus makes it clear that users do not actually own the property and that the land is held by the company. Even so much ownership may be a pipe dream, though.
Prosecutors from Brazil’s Federal Public Ministry said last week that Nemus has 15 days to prove that it owns the site. This came after Indigenous people said they were tricked into selling land to the NFT project.
The prosecutor’s office said, “The company delivered a sign to the villages, written in English, and asked the Indigenous people, who can barely read, to sign documents without clarifying the content or providing a copy,”
When people talk about NFT use cases, Nemus and Drexel Medical College open up a new area. An assistant professor at Lehman College named Sean Stein Smith, who writes about digital assets, says that there have already been arguments about how to use NFT technology.
Smith said, “On the point of trying to wait for the ‘real-world applications’ of NFTs — those applications are here. Are they creating benefits from an economic and broader societal point of view?’ is ultimately how any project should be judged.”