Despite widespread condemnation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in Chinese state-owned media, the 2022 Asian Games has announced the sale of its first NFT collection.
The organizers of the games, which will take place in September 2022 in Hangzhou, the capital city of the eastern province of Zhejiang, announced the first NFT collection in the event’s history in a social media post.
The 20,000 limited edition NFTs, priced at 39 yuan (US$6) each and featuring the event’s torch, will be available beginning Thursday via an in-app feature in Alipay powered by Ant Chain, Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s blockchain arm.
Hangzhou, a city of more than 10 million people, is home to the Chinese tech giant Alibaba.
Despite criticisms of the new type of digital collectibles that have emerged in China-controlled media outlets, NFT sales have increased. Securities Times, a sister publication of the People’s Daily, published an opinion piece last week criticizing NFTs as hype and arguing that digital assets should serve the real economy by tokenizing actual assets.
According to Beijing Business Today, NFT buyers’ cash may be retained by NFT marketplace UMX.ART because buyers were required to pay before placing bids in auctions, despite an agreement that the platform would return the money if their bids failed. However, Li Zhang, co-founder and chief technical officer at UMX.ART, told Forkast.News that buyers’ transactions were handled in a separate account, and that the company had strict internal rules in place to prevent money transfers from that account to other accounts managed by it.
Alibaba has been issuing NFTs on a regular basis. Tmall, Alibaba’s online retailer, launched an NFT moon cake — a snack to celebrate the Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival — over the weekend, which sold out in a day.