E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has launched a digital asset trading market backed by the government of Sichuan. This is the latest attempt by China's Big Tech companies to use blockchain technology.
South China Morning Post, which is owned by the Hangzhou-based tech giant Alibaba Auction, introduced a new market section this week. A platform of the Sichuan Blockchain Association Copyright Committee will be used to issue the non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Using the blockchain allows writers, musicians, game developers, and other creators to sell rights to their next creations.
It is accomplished through the use of cryptographically secure, one-of-a-kind tokens that allow the owner to prove ownership, but the technology itself cannot stop unauthorized copying.
According to an online introduction, the platform provides complete ownership of works. Numerous products have already been listed on the platform, with auctions starting next month. The digital items available include an illustration from Star Wars and a painting depicting the West Pearl Tower in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital.
The starting price for each auction is 100 yuan ($15), and deposits of 500 yuan are required to bid.
Tencent Holdings' WeChat allows buyers to view their digital products after purchasing them by visiting Bit Universe's public account, an institute backed by Tree Graph Blockchain Research.
Data from DappRadar, a company that follows sales across multiple blockchains, shows that NFT sales surged to $2.5 billion by the beginning of July, a new high for this type of digital trade. In the first half of 2020, that figure was just $13.7 million.
Alibaba's financial technology services affiliate Ant Group has already begun entering the sector.
8,000 limited-edition NFTs, which commemorate ancient art from the Dunhuang Caves, was sold in June by the fintech firm. A mini-program for "AntChain Fan Grain" sold out quickly based on the "NFT payment code skins."
In July, Ant launched the Europe 2020 Top Scorer Award, a product of the NFT.
A partnership between Ant and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) was formed to commission the AntChain-backed award, which records a winner's score on the AntChain ledger. The digital trophy from Alipay was also distributed to 1,600 of its users who won its European Cup quiz.
As part of the Post's NFT project last month, it became the first news organization in Asia to publish historical items on blockchains. With the advent of ARTIFACT, readers can own and trade historical documents such as the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
NFTs are being offered by other Chinese technology giants as well. As of last month, Tencent is selling 300 NFTs in exchange for audio clips from a talk show called Shisanyao on its Huanhe trading platform.