Qantas NFT Raises Big Ethical Question

Qantas is continuing to maintain its reputation as a trend setter. But not everyone is happy about it...

Image: Qantas

Australian airline Qantas is dropping an NFT all of its own. The airline teased the news an hour ago (as of the time of writing) on Twitter, writing: “A new way to own a piece of Qantas history is on its way.”

Qantas added: “Interested collectors can register at http://qantas.com/NFT for updates in the lead up to the release.”

Australia’s flagship airline states on its website: “We’re looking to the future for our next collection of memorabilia. A new set of digital art collectables is gearing up for release as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

Though Qantas didn’t say exactly when the NFTs would be released (though they did say it would be “mid year”), they did explain how the NFTs would work.

“Using blockchain technology, each piece of digital artwork will be one-of-a-kind allowing you to buy, own, collect and sell your unique tokens,” Qantas said.

“In a world-first, the initial buyer of a Qantas NFT will be able to earn Qantas Points, with more exciting future benefits for Qantas NFT holders underway.”

Those interested in getting in on the NFT action were encouraged to register for more details and updates, ahead of the mid-year release.

Image Credit: Qantas

Opinion of the history-making Qantas NFT has so far received a negative reception on Twitter. Comments rolled in like: “Lol. Which arsehat decided this would be a good thing?” and “wow, you really do like to flex your CO2 emissions eh” (another wrote: “Make an nft of Qantas laying off thousands of workers after getting billions of Australian taxpayer subsidies”).

Many of the complaints were focused on the environmental impact of NFTs.

At the time of writing there has yet to be a positive comment on the announcement’s Twitter thread (but to be fair it hasn’t been up long, and Twitter is usually a negative-skewed barometer of public opinion).

Even still: it raises a big ethical question for both airlines (and their ‘buy back your impact’ approach to emissions), and the broader crypto industry. Is this just the price of progress, or a step too far? Even Tesla – a company notorious for both its founder’s Promethean attitude and its environmental bonafides – has found it a tough one to grapple with

Given details are still scant around Qantas’ upcoming mid-year NFT release, it’s also possible the airline will have some kind of carbon emissions offsetting system to go along with the NFT. So we’ll keep an eye out for that too.

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