Alibaba’s foray into blockchain
Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce titan, has launched an online market for digital assets traded on a blockchain, marking yet another foray into blockchain technology by one of China’s Big Tech companies.
The market debuted this week as a new section on Alibaba Auction, an online auctioning platform. Alibaba also owns the South China Morning Post, which first broke the news. The non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will be distributed via the New Copyright Blockchain.
The copyright association helps writers, musicians, game developers, and other artists to sell the rights to their content via blockchain. NFTs enable this by employing unique, encrypted tokens to prove ownership. Although this doesn’t prevent unauthorized copies from being made.
Star Wars illustrations
The platform already has a large number of products listed, which will begin to be auctioned off next month. A Star Wars illustration and a painting of the famous West Pearl Tower, are among the digital items for sale. Each auction begins at 100 yuan (US$15) and requires a 500 yuan deposit to bid.
Buyers can view their digital products on Tencent Holdings’ WeChat after purchase by visiting the public account for Bit Universe.
NFTs a hot trade investment
According to data compiled by DappRadar, NFTs have become a hot new form of digital trade and investment , and continued to surge to new highs (US$2.5 billion) in the second quarter.
Ant Group: Alibaba’s fintech
This year, Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial technology services affiliate, began dabbling in NFTs. In June, the fintech firm sold 8,000 limited-edition NFTs based on two pieces of artwork commemorating ancient Chinese art, including rare manuscripts.
Ant Group debuted another NFT product in July, a Top Scorer Award for the Europe 2020 football championship. Ant collaborated with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to create the award, which comes with a digital token and immortalizes the winner’s score sheet on the AntChain ledger.
Alipay also gave out 1,600 digital versions of the trophy to users who won the European Cup quiz. European soccer is hugely popular in China, as it is elsewhere.
Last month, The South China Post also unveiled its own NFT project, becoming Asia’s first news organization to offer historical items from its archives on a blockchain. Readers will be able to own and trade historical pieces of reporting such as the handover of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, using a new standard called ARTIFACT.
NFTs have also been used by other tech behemoths to enter the digital art market. Tencent recently launched an NFT trading platform where it will sell 300 NFTs for audio clips from a popular Hong Kong-based talk show.
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