Updated: May 29, 2021
What do the Kings of Leon have to do with the future of Enterprise Knowledge Management and Human Capital functions? Non-Fungible Tokens!
When talking about Knowledge Management's future, people tend to point toward Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics. However, look beyond the obvious. You will start to see exciting insights into advances that could influence Knowledge Management and Human Capital's future. I'm talking about Non-Fungible Tokens.
You might not have heard, but Kings of Leon, the American rock band, made the news by becoming the first to release an album using a Non-Fungible Token or NFT.
Kings Of Leon's tokens come in three forms, one holds a special album package, while the second provides access to live show benefits, and the third provides access to special audiovisual art.
Read: Kings of Leon Will Be the First Band to Release an Album as an NFT, Rolling Stone Magazine
So, what is an NFT, and how does it link to Knowledge Management and Human Capital?
NFTs exist as part of the Ethereum Blockchain, which makes it a cryptocurrency much like Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin, and as demonstrated by Kings of Leon, NFTs can contain anything from art to the rights to front row concert seats. Ultimately, an NFT uses Blockchain technology to prove ownership of the token - the digital asset - and buy, sell and hold tokens.
"Ethereum is the community-run technology powering the cryptocurrency, ether (ETH) and thousands of decentralised applications" www.ethereum.org
Digital assets can take fungible and non-fungible forms. Cambridge Dictionary Online defines fungibility as:
Dictionary.com provides a definition of fungibility in law:
"(especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind"
An example of a fungible token is traditional currency, a British Pound that can be divided and traded for tokens of the same value. A non-fungible token would be the opposite of fungible, meaning it is unique, irreplaceable and non-interchangeable.
One of the best explainer tables that I have been able to locate is provided in a 2018 Medium.com article that explains why fungible and non-fungible tokens are fundamentally different.
Ultimately, as an example of a fungible token, you can trade a single US Dollar for another US Dollar. Still, with a non-fungible token, it is unique. You cannot trade like for like - for example, the Kings of Leon artwork token is one-of-a-kind and, therefore, cannot be exchanged like-for-like.
If you are new to NFTs, this will blow your mind! Graphic Designer Beeple's NFT, Crossroads #1/1 sold for USD 6.6M - owned by Delphina Leucas
What do Non-Fungible Tokens have to do with Enterprise Knowledge Management or Human Capital?
"[Blockchain] will enable people, companies to put IDs, certificates, real estate data and other information of the real-world assets on the blockchain...Imagine having your diploma issued on the blockchain as a digital document that is recognised by all authorities around the world." Read: Fungible vs non-fungible tokens on the blockchain - Medium.com
Could knowledge, like art, be captured as an object, owned and licensed via NFTs. By exposing a given NFT to the new owner/lessee's beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent, create new NFTs? In using blockchain technology, could Knowledge Management improve knowledge provenance and, therefore, hygiene - specifically the credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability of the knowledge.
Knowledge Management has obsessed with externalising knowledge - mining knowledge and separating it from the person human. Imagine if you could capture the essence of you - your beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experience and talent - as a unique NFT. A knowledge object, if you will.
What happens if you combine your knowledge object with others to form a unique swarm? Could Knowledge Management be involved in creating, acquiring, sharing, and deploying such tokens or assets. Will talent management evolve to leasing or trading NFTs.
The Kings of Leon is entitled "when you see yourself". Given its link to NFT and this discussion on knowledge and talent, perhaps it could have been called "when you sell yourself".
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