NFT Rental: What It Is, How It Works & Is Web3 Ready?
An essential element of NFTs is that many of them have utility. Furthermore, the market’s financialization transforms them into powerful assets. Some investors may have specific and short-term intentions with certain NFTs, making their acquisition impractical and unjustified. This is where NFT Rental comes in. A way in which renters can access utilities from digital assets, and lenders can profit from their NFTs without having to sell them.
This article will showcase the potential of NFT rentals for owners and borrowers. In addition, it will explain how it works and why getting into it could be a great decision.
What is NFT Rental?
As the name implies, NFT rental is when NFT holders lease out their digital assets for temporary use in exchange for upfront capital. This method is introduced when people don’t want to sell their NFTs but are willing to share them with others.
If one believes that there could be a significant interest in their assets that would make someone pay for short-term access to them, they can seek such opportunities. There are advantages for both involved parties, which we will discuss below.
How to Rent or Lend NFTs?
Currently, there are two ways of renting or lending NFTs offered by dedicated platforms. Let’s take a closer look at how they work and their pros and cons.
Collateral NFT Renting
This type of NFT renting involves a borrower offering collateral to use someone else’s NFT temporarily. In other words, the borrower has to offer some kind of deposit to the lender in exchange for their NFT. The procedure is simple.
At first, the NFT owner places an offer in the marketplace and waits for an interested borrower. When that borrower is ready, the NFT and the collateral (usually crypto) are set in a smart contract so that the parties accept the rules of the loan. It usually involves an agreement on the rent price and the due date. After that, the borrower receives the NFT, and they have to return it before the loan ends. Then they get back their collateral. There is also a platform fee that has to be paid by the renter.
However, there are some downsides to this model. Collateral renting can be pretty expensive and even risky. The former accusation comes from the fact that NFT owners often expect high collaterals for their precious assets, which could mean the borrowers will pay almost as much as for buying the real thing. This way, the number of potential renters decreases. The latter problem occurs because the NFT is exchanged for other assets, which can cause theft. If the other party decides not to return the NFT, there’s nothing the owner can do besides keeping the collateral to themselves.
Collateral-Free NFT Renting
Many NFT market participants consider collateral-free renting the remedy to the above-described issues. This model works almost the same as the collateral one above but doesn’t require exchanging any assets for the NFT. Instead, the renter receives a wrapped NFT backed by the original asset. When the contract duration passes, the wrapped NFT is burned, and the borrower no longer has access to it. This way, the risk of financial illiquidity for both sides is lowered, and there’s no possibility of stealing the asset.
Collateral-less NFT rental is a service that allows borrowers to use NFTs to achieve their goals while the owners don’t have to worry about losing their digital assets. The only payment that has to be made by the renter is the platform fee. While some consider the zero collateral approach the future of NFT lending, it is still a very emerging model that is yet to be tested in scale.
The Benefits of Renting NFTs
NFT Rental offers benefits for both lenders and borrowers. In the case of lenders, the main benefit is:
Making an NFT Profitable Without Selling It
Having the NFT on its own doesn’t provide any rewards unless it could be staked on a specific platform. You only gain when you sell it – unless you rent it. This allows lenders to profit from an NFT without having to sell it. In addition, NFT rental gives more liquidity to such an illiquid asset. Then, lenders can use these gains for other investments, optimizing their profits.
For borrowers, the benefits are also great. When renting an NFT, they can access its utility, like attending events, unlocking a Discord channel, and even receiving discounts on specific platforms. The main advantages of using this type of service are:
Buying NFTs can be pretty expensive. When talking about NFT blue chips, prices can be around hundreds of thousands – or even millions. Thus, not everyone can afford to acquire them. NFT rental democratizes access to these assets by allowing people to rent very high-valued NFTs for a small portion of their sale price.
Access to Utility Without Commitment
As explained, borrowers can rent an NFT for its utility without investing too much money. The utility aspect can be extensive. Some reasons a user would borrow an NFT are using it in a video game or metaverse, accessing exclusive communities or events, or even hosting an event in a virtual land. Regardless, NFT rental offers accessibility to the advantages of a given NFT without having to commit to permanently owning one.
Trying Before Buying
If someone is still determining if they want to buy NFT or which one they should choose, renting allows them to test multiple assets and pick the ones that fulfill their needs and requirements.
Avoiding Market Volatility
NFT prices can be highly volatile, which can scare some investors from wanting to commit to a purchase. The fear of being left with an asset that will no longer be useful and impossible to sell pushes investors to utilize services like NFT rentals. By renting the NFT instead of buying it, users can access the NFT privileges without being susceptible to market fluctuations.
For many people being an NFT owner is the manifestation of their status and wealth. That’s probably because of the prices of these digital assets. We sometimes borrow expensive cars or clothes. The NFTs can work the same way, thanks to rentals. Using them to elevate their social media presence is one of the most successful strategies for aspiring creators.
Thus, NFT renting solves many issues that users are worried about, benefiting lenders and borrowers. It also moves more capital around the market, expanding the blockchain industry as a whole.
NFT Rental Platforms
If you are interested in this new and fast-evolving industry, below are some great NFT rental platforms. These platforms offer NFT rental services in various models.
Bored Jobs is a platform for collateral NFT renting initially dedicated to the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection only. Now it offers other NFTs, such as Doodles and Cool Cats. The website doesn’t act as a marketplace that allows borrowers to seek offers. Instead, it’s more of a middleman for NFT owners. A person wanting to rent their NFT gets in touch with the Bored Jobs crew, and they find the right party (a brand or individual) that meets the loan requirements. The platform charges the NFT owner a flat 15% fee after the transaction is finalized, which helps them with the operational costs.
One of the most popular platforms for NFT rentals is reNFT which got a lot of media attention when it raised $1.5 million in a funding round led by Animoca Brands last year. Since the company is quite involved in the development of Web 3, it’s a big deal. ReNFT is also an example of collateral NFT renting space (that offers collateral-free options). It works as a marketplace where one can browse through NFT listings and pick up the ones they are interested in. The platform operates on digital escrows that are based on smart contracts. Due to its purpose of promoting the adoption of NFT renting, reNFT doesn’t charge any fees.
This startup wants to focus on bringing rewards into NFT rentals. It’s still in the beta phase, but the idea behind it is to offer easy collateral-free NFT loans. The brand mainly focuses on gaming communities and wants to lower the entry barrier for its users. Unitbox operates on the revenue-sharing model, meaning that when the borrower earns something via play-to-earn, they and the NFT owner get rewards. This way, they are not charged for the loan itself.
Vera is another big player in the NFT rental sector. In March this year, the platform surpassed $2 million in transaction value, a milestone for the industry. Vera is a multichain protocol that operates on the collateral-free model and uses three blockchains: Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Smart Chain. They also offer a partnership for companies that desire to build an NFT-based startup based on Vera infrastructure. That resulted in multiple partnerships with DeFi apps and games that want to enter the metaverse and have their own NFTs.
Trava is an attractive peer-to-peer renting platform that allows its users to create lending pools and build their businesses around them. It’s also built on a multichain architecture but uses the collateral mechanism. However, Trava expands beyond just loans – it offers staking, framing, and a marketplace for buying and selling NFTs. It’s mainly dedicated to people that like games because their platform works like one. They even have their NFT collection called Trava Knight.
Another collateral-free NFT renting platform is IQ Protocol. It allows users to rent fungible tokens and subscription tokens, helping them enter the world of digital assets and metaverse in a much easier way. The app connects NFT owners, gamers, blockchain projects, and other stakeholders that want to participate in rental transactions. It also offers support and infrastructure for organizations that want to introduce NFTs. For example, if they’re going to develop a game with the NFT marketplace, they can do that with the help of IQ Protocol. Staking is also available to gain even higher rewards.
We can say without a doubt that Web 3 is developing every month. Some say that 2020 was the year of DeFi, 2021 was focused on NFTs, and now is when these technologies can grow and improve. The NFT rental market is still young and experimental, but it has the potential to develop even further in the NFT industry. On top of that, it expands the very foundations of Web3 – democratizing the internet – by giving more accessible access to digital assets that might have been too pricy for some.
As with every financial transaction, NFT rental does carry some risks. But, if you do your due diligence and measure risks, you can explore new opportunities in the NFT market. Thanks to the possibilities rental platforms offer, more people can enter the world of NFT and its benefits, making Web 3 more accessible and user-centric than ever.
We believe that Web 3 is not only ready for NFT rentals, but it’s embracing them completely. What do you think? Join our Discord space to discuss with like-minded blockchain and NFT enthusiasts.