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2022 Asian Games Boost NFT in China With Torch Collection Sale

The non-fungible token (NFT) space in China got a boost on Thursday Sep 16 with the issuance and sale of the torch NFT by the 2022 Asian Games organizers, Global Times has reported. 

The report says the sporting event’s 3D digital torch marks the first NFT collection to be issued by the Games in its 70-year history. It also marks the first time that the digital items which exist on blockchain and are uniquely identifiable would be distributed by an official organization. 

The development is particularly significant considering the Chinese government’s stance on digital assets and their related transactions. China has been against cryptocurrency mining and trading within its borders for some time based on their perceived risks to the well-being of the country. 

Meanwhile, while NFT is somewhat linked to cryptocurrencies, its space continues to see some changes in China that signal an increase in the transformation from analog to digital market. 

The 20,000 NFT units of the torch were sold via Alipay and supported by Ant Group’s blockchain, AntChain, at a price of CNY39 (about $6.05) each. They reportedly sold out within a second in a move that seems to demonstrate a growing interest for NFT in China even though some regulatory issues still linger.

Though NFTs sold in China differ from others elsewhere because the tokens are not tradable and can only be bought with the yuan rather than with a cryptocurrency, a Chinese state-run newspaper recently warned of a “huge bubble” in NFTs. 

Securities Times’ argument is that many buyers focus on NFT as a format and not the artwork or asset itself hene their value could drop drastically once market hype cools. Other Chinese state media outfits that shared similar concerns over the rise of NFTs in China are People’s Daily online and China Business Journal 

They made the caution after Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, released its first “Dunhuang” style NFT in June – it has since released 50 mooncake NFTs on its e-commerce platform Taobao as at September. 

There’s also the entry of Chinese social network and gaming giant Tencent into the NFT sector with the launch of its NFT trading platform, Huanhe, built on its Zhixin chain.

Aside from the first-of-its-kind torch NFT collection by a Chinese official organization, the NFT popularity in China over the past year has been soaring in the form of images, text and even tweets. Some of the recent high-profile NFT releases include Cristiano Ronaldo winning Alipay’s first NFT trophy ever in history at the Euro Cup 2020. 

Alipay also distributed the same digital trophy to 1,600 winning users who won the Euro Cup quiz and launched 8,000 limited-edition NFTs based on two pieces of artwork to commemorate the ancient artwork from the Dunhuang Caves in China.  

A workshop under NetEase released its first IP-to-NFT work in late June, with a limited edition of 333 pieces worldwide. 

Also in June, Korean artist, Byung Jong Kim, released the ‘Main entrance of Seoul University in Snow’, which was given as a gift to President Xi Jinping during his visit to Korea in 2014, as his first NFT work. The work symbolizes China and Korea in harmony as well as a wish for a better relationship between the two countries.

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