Digital nomads, NFT and One Man’s Quest to build an island oasis for remote working


An entrepreneur gets up after miscalculating the investment and interest needed to build an eco-lodge on a remote island in Indonesia.

Olumide Gbenro originally planned to sell 5,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at around $ 500 each to fund the development of a complex designed to meet the needs of remote workers, digital nomads and “independent investors in the world.” ‘site”. The tokens would have served as a lifetime pass to the private retirement, with the price levels for accommodation and food to be set by the new community.

It’s a relatively new and very unconventional way to raise cash, and Gbenro only made $ 65,000. However, he has now revived the project, multiplying it tenfold, and remains convinced that the entire travel industry will ultimately benefit from the NFT craze.

Is it the turn of tourism?

NFTs are becoming popular in the art world, as well as in sports. Each token is a unique digital collectible stored on a blockchain. It is different from cryptocurrency because each has a unique identification code. When you buy one, there is a permanent record of ownership and digital proof of where it came from.

A digital nomadic resort is being planned in Buka Buka, Indonesia.

The National Basketball Association uses them to sell collectible cards through its NBA Top Shot platform, while some football clubs, including Manchester City, sell tokens to fans. They can also be traded after their purchase, on marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible.

While a luxury hotel in Venice uses NFTs to auction overnight, they are not commonly used in the travel industry. Gbenro thinks his attempt is the first.

“I haven’t seen anyone do it that way. There’s no plan, that’s why I screwed up, ”he said. “It was hard. It sort of failed, or didn’t work out so well. I wanted to run away and say forget it, but people around me say I couldn’t do this, let’s find another way.

Essentially, Bali-based Gbenro is using NFTs to outsource the development of the station, and for his second attempt he aims to sell 500 NFT, at around $ 2,500 each, raising $ 1.25 million to develop Nomada on Buka Buka, in partnership with local developer Thomas Despin. , among others. “I realized that for an island, it is not very smart to send 5,000 people there,” he added.

He also set up a second project called the Wealthy Island Penguin Club, a holdover from the original initiative, for which he still plans to sell 5,000 NFTs, but to a different audience of people in the NFT and cryptocurrency communities. This would act more like a “business club” and end up being linked to access to Nomada.

Upcoming lessons

Gbenro is no stranger to the travel industry, having founded Digital Nomad Week and other events, while also contributing to lobbying efforts for a digital nomad visa for the country. He is convinced that if he can get Nomada to work, he will prove the merits of a “new distributed model of living” – but acknowledges that it will take time.

“It may take a few months or a few years for the dream to come true, that’s okay. That’s why I’m back and reviving, ”he said. He also believes that bigger hotel brands should consider NFTs to attract a younger audience.

“These trading companies are stuck in their old ways,” he said. “I don’t know what they are doing to say ‘let’s adjust to the future’ because we know tourism has changed. It will never be the same again. People aren’t just going to show up and say, “I want to see the sights.” Hotels and travel agencies need to start responding to the needs of people on the move and their needs. “

While cryptocurrency is seen by many as the Wild West of payments, new technology and the markets surrounding NFTs have an image problem. Many schemes appear to be loaded with high risk or are promoted by celebrities, and questions arise as to the real seriousness of a long-term investment in an NFT. But among the get-rich-quick scams, there are certain “names” that help NFTs to be taken more seriously.

Gbenro said some of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s projects highlight the practicality of NFTs, where tokens can give owners access to exclusive events. He allegedly made tens of millions of dollars in “strike” tokens. “If people show up to a conference with a token, we’re halfway there,” Gbenro said.

Traditional hotel brands should look at NFTs the same way and create special membership passes or loyalty cards for guests, or use them to deliver perks while increasing equity, Gbenro added. 84% of investors would consider buying a luxury vacation experience as a DTV to use or sell when tourism picks up, according to a report. “They could start an NFT project, generate millions of dollars with their famous brand. They could send it to their mailing list. I don’t know why they don’t, ”he said.

For now, expect to see fringe brands forge more hotel technology-based alliances, like Crystal Bay and Beowulf Blockchain in Vietnam, and continue the experiments. In the current climate, the pace of digitization in the tourism industry will not slow down anytime soon.

Notes to the appendix

Like the pristine Indonesian islands, nothing will be prohibited for remote workers in the future.

Speaking at Skift’s Design the Future event last week, we found out how a photography museum attracts people looking for quiet spaces to Zoom. Fotografiska merged with collaborative workspace provider NeueHouse in March this year, and is opening three museums in Stockholm, New York and Tallinn

“We’re thinking of a workspace and a social space in a museum… it’s been a fascinating journey and design is at its heart,” Jon Goss, its brand director, said at the online event.

With places and spaces open for new types of interpretation, design should be more important than ever. So I have a few questions about exactly how a workspace in a train station, next to a store, can work.

Wojo, Accor’s coworking brand, has opened a space next to a Relay store in Annemasse, in eastern France. It might not be as calm or elegant as a museum, but for the remote worker who has to travel to Geneva, it ticks all the right boxes. And the beauty of being in the same building as a newsagent is that you are unlikely to run out of pens.

Speaking at the Skift Live event, Glos made an interesting point that Zoom has accelerated the noise we have to deal with, no doubt a problem for a museum. There was therefore talk of an alliance with Design Hotels, so that NeueHouse members could access the wide range of properties of the luxury hotel collective to find another place to work.

There are already a lot of third parties stepping in and joining the dots between the various luxury and lifestyle hotels that can offer co-working spaces, but there are good reasons for hotels to put rivalries aside. and partner with like-minded properties.

Catch-up in 10 seconds for business trips

Who and what Skift covered last week: Airbnb, Amazon, AvantStay, Best Western, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Heathrow Airport, Hotel Rates, IAG, Saber, TripActions, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic.

In short

Australian company CTM buys Helloworld corporate and entertainment assets for $ 125

Travel management company community trademark is to buy 100 percent of Hi worldAustralia and New Zealand’s business travel and entertainment activities for approximately $ 125 million (AU $ 175 million). inbound destination management services, airline ticket consolidation, wholesale travel services and online operations. Completion of the acquisition is expected to take place in the first quarter of next year. CTM acquired the American company Travel and Transport for 195 million dollars in September 2020.

GlobalStar Expands Reach in UK with Agency Partnership

GlobalStar Travel Management partnered with a UK based company Travel advisers‘Business Travel Division. GlobalStar operates at 3,500 sites in 85 countries, and the strategic agreement strengthens its strength as a “bench” in the UK, one of its main driving markets, according to GlobalStar CEO James Stevenson. Travel Counselors has 1,900 travel franchisees in six countries. The UK is its main market, but it also operates in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Winding Tree Adds Industry Executives to Payments and Services Branch

Travel market Winding tree strengthened its Simard services and payments division with three new hires. Don Birch, who founded Abacus and recently worked at Traxo, now becomes CEO of Simard, while Mathieu Tahon joins as CTO, having previously worked at Amadeus, et. Bill Hogate is joining us as Vice President of Sales and Account Management in North America. He has held positions at Frasca International, Lumo and CorpTrav in the past. Simard said it acts as a provider of technical support services to those who need help when they join Winding Tree’s channel block-based marketplace, which directly connects client companies to vendors. trips. Winding Tree is currently working with EY and American Airlines.

Future of Work briefing will not be released during the holiday season but we will be back after New Years on Jan 6th.

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