Digestible news about the latest developments across the fields of NFT, blockchain and metaverse in China, delivered to you every week.
This week: The Sandbox metaverse names Mega City project partners, e-CNY wallet tops download charts in app stores, NFT projects endorsed by Jay Chou top OpenSea’s 24-hour sales chart, and more.
The Sandbox metaverse names Mega City project partners
The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, announced today that it has added an array of Hong Kong partners from the film, music, entertainment, acting, professional services, finance, real estate and gaming sectors to create Mega City, a new cultural hub.
- The new entrants have joined The Sandbox’s virtual real estate by acquiring LAND NFTs in the open metaverse and have committed to building experiences in Mega City.
- To celebrate the new partners, The Sandbox will launch a new LAND sale that will allow players to purchase choice spots near the LANDs of partners.
- Partners who acquired LAND in Mega City include Hong Kong tycoon Adrian Cheng, professional services firm PwC Hong Kong, blockchain-related investment and asset management company TIMES CAPITAL, director Stephen Fung and actor Shu Qi.
- TIMES CAPITAL will help to build an immersive Hong Kong film IP museum and game experience based on its IP portfolio of over 150 classic films.
- Director Stephen Fung and actor Shu Qi will help bring art and culture to Mega City. Fung will showcase his own works, as well as those by artists he selected, to pay homage to Hong Kong film classics, while Shu will showcase her NFTs at a specialized social hub.
- Earlier, The Sandbox lauched Alpha, a play-to-earn NFT game that allows anyone to earn SAND, The Sandbox’s utility token.
- The Sandbox has secured over 165 partnerships, including Adidas, Snoop Dogg, The South China Morning Post and CryptoKitties.
- The Sandbox has already sold 70% of its 166,464 LAND NFTs. Existing LAND owners include Binance, CoinCheck, Metakovan, Pranksy, Socios and CoinMarketCap, among others. (Yahoo Finance)
E-CNY Wallet tops download charts in app stores ahead of Winter Olympics
China’s digital yuan wallet app has become one of the country’s most downloaded apps within just a week of launching, a development that could disrupt a consumer payment market dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay.
- Downloads of the e-CNY app, which currently operates in select cities in China, exceeded those of WeChat, according to market researcher App Annie. The wallet app retained the top spot through Saturday before falling to second place behind Kuaishou.
- By Monday, the app was also the second most downloaded financial app in Xiaomi’s app store, after topping the list last Wednesday, according to market researcher Qimai.
- The e-CNY app’s popularity could be a positive sign for efforts by the People’s Bank of China to promote its central bank digital currency (CBDC), ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics next month.
- The Central Bank Research Institute, developer of the new wallet app, has studied the e-CNY for years before testing it out in 2020 by sending e-yuan red packets in 10 pilot cities and Olympic venues in Beijing.
- The government has stated that the digital yuan is designed to replace coins and notes in circulation, but the push to digitize cash has also fanned concerns of enhanced state surveillance on transactions.
- In addition to the e-CNY app, the digital yuan is also accessible via WeChat, Alipay and the apps of seven Chinese banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
- China has yet to announce a formal timetable for the nationwide launch of its CBDC, but the central bank has said that foreign visitors to the Olympics will be able to use the digital yuan without a Chinese bank account. (SCMP)
NFT projects endorsed by Jay Chou and Edison Chen top OpenSea’s 24-hour sales chart
NFT projects with links to Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou and Hong Kong actor Edison Chen have topped the world’s biggest NFT marketplace’s 24-hour sales chart.
- PhantaBear, a collection of 10,000 NFTs launched on January 1 by the Jay Chou-backed fashion brand PHANTACi, is currently the top project on OpenSea, with a trade volume of 23,000 and floor price (lowest price) of 4.18 ETH.
- The Heart Project, which was endorsed by Edison Chen in September last year, saw its sales volume grow over 20,000 per cent over the past few days, sending it to the second spot on the marketplace by 24-hour trading volume.
- While the Chinese government has taken strict measures to crack down on crypto mining and trading, activities and communities around digital assets remain vibrant in Hong Kong and Taiwan. (SCMP)
Foxconn subsidiary Ennoconn Corporation receives investment from Google for metaverse projects
Ennoconn Corporation, a Taiwanese computer hardware subsidiary of iPhone supplier Foxconn, is set to receive a $39.8 million investment from Google, as the two plan to cooperate on more metaverse projects in Taiwan.
- Google is set to invest in the company through a private placement. Upon the completion of the deal, the American tech giant will take a 4.6% stake in Ennoconn, making it the third-largest institutional shareholder of the Foxconn subsidiary.
- Ennoconn’s products, including servers and gadgets for 5G applications and the Internet of Things (IoT), make the company a strong player in the metaverse space.
- In 2017, Google invested in the hardware business of HTC, a Taiwanese consumer electronics company known for manufacturing virtual reality (VR) gears in a $1.1 billion deal.
- Taiwan manufactures most of the world’s high-end integrated circuit chips, which are key components for building sensors to be included in VR headsets and base stations. Google’s move will help to strengthen the company’s metaverse hardware supply chain and set the stage for the development of the metaverse industry in Taiwan. (Forkast)
Nvidia makes its metaverse-building software free for individual creators and artists
The tech giant also added new features and partners to Omniverse, its real-time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform.
- Last week, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nvidia made Omniverse, its real-time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform, available free to individual creators and artists.
- The tech giant also rolled out new features and integrations for the product, which the company has dubbed the “metaverse for engineers.”
- Nvidia says Omniverse has been downloaded by over 100,000 creators since the company launched a beta version for paid subscribers last year.
- Omniverse combines graphics, artificial intelligence (AI), simulation tools and scalable computing to help designers and creators craft 3D assets and scenes from their laptops or workstations.
- Omniverse is able to connect independent 3D design worlds, which are often made with incompatible tools, into a shared virtual scene. (CoinDesk)
Kidnapped Chinese man reunited with family after 33 years by drawing map from memory
- 37-year-old Li Jingwei was abducted by a neighbor and sold to a child traffic ring in 1989.
- On 24 December, 2021, Li shared a hand-drawn map of his childhood village in Yunnan on the short video-sharing app Douyin (the Chinese mainland version of TikTok), which police matched to a small village and a woman whose son had disappeared.
- After receiving DNA tests, Li was able to reunite with his family on January 1, 2022, and a video of the reunion went viral on the internet.
Talk about a great way to start the new year… That’s it for this week’s newsletter – thanks for reading! As always, I welcome any feedback on how to make this newsletter better. My email is [email protected]. Have a great weekend, and see you next week!