China NFT Weekly: Tokenizing History

Digestible news about the latest developments across the fields of NFT, blockchain and metaverse in China, delivered to you every Thursday.

This week: Baidu launches metaverse social platform, South China Morning Post releases white paper for NFT standard, Bored Apes form virtual bands, and more.

Baidu Launches Metaverse Social Platform Xirang

The social platform released last week allows users to explore virtual environments with their phones, computers and VR goggles. The move is viewed by many as Baidu’s most tangible foray into the metaverse.

SEE ALSO: Baidu Launches Metaverse App “Xirang”

South China Morning Post Releases White Paper for NFT Standard ARTIFACT

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) has released a white paper detailing its new NFT metadata standard called ARTIFACT. The standard will be used to mint historical NFTs, including the SCMP’s own inaugural NFT collection.

  • According to SCMP’s white paper, the ARTIFACT metadata structure will be built on the Flow blockchain created by Dapper Labs, the makers of the popular NBA Top Shot video NFTs.
  • SCMP says news organizations are by definition centralized ledgers of history. Therefore, by tokenizing assets on the blockchain, SCMP effectively decentralizes the ownership of historical accounts and ensures their immutability.
  • The ARTIFACT project includes three components:
    • ARTIFACT: the metadata standard and smart contract for ARTIFACTS.
      • Metadata standard: a requirement which is intended to establish a common understanding of the meaning or semantics of the data, thereby ensuring the correct use and interpretation of the data by its owners and users.
      • Smart contract: a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.
    • ARTIFACTS by SCMP: tokenized media assets from SCMP’s archives spanning 118 years and the first use case of the ARTIFACT standard.
    • ARTIFACT marketplace: a marketplace for the minting, sale and trade of historical NFTs (ARTIFACTs) issued using the ARTIFACT standard contract.
  • ARTIFACTs by SCMP will be launched in December 2021, and marketplace in March 2022. SCMP also aims to grow a global ARTIFACT ecosystem (issuers, collectors, metaverse) from the second quarter of 2022 and onwards. (SCMP, Coindesk)

Zhangjiajie Unveils China’s First Metaverse R&D Center

  • The R&D center, located in south central China’s Hunan province, will play a pivotal role in accelerating the digitization of the area’s travel industry, local news reports say.
  • The move has drawn criticism from netizens who are skeptical of the travel industry’s capacity for metaverse R&D and the lack of clarity in the metaverse’s definition. (The Paper)

NFT ART WEEK Held in Shenzhen

Last week, NEAL DIGITAL (an NFT publisher and distributor) and C Future Lab (a tech startup dedicated to sustainable urban planning) jointly hosted the event in Futian, Shenzhen.

  • NFT ART WEEK showcased about two hundred pieces of artwork, created on the blockchain by artists all around the world, with the goal of educating the public about NFTs and digital collectibles.
  • The exhibition featured “Mars House,” the world’s first NFT home. “Mars House” was created by Toronto-based digital artist Krista Kim and was sold for $500,000. (C Future Lab)

Bored Apes Form Virtual Bands

UMG-owned label “10:22 PM” announced it has signed a virtual group made up of Bored Ape characters called KINGSHIP. Separately, American musician Timbaland launched a new, independently-owned entertainment company, Ape-In Productions (AIP), which uses Bored Ape characters to perform music and sell NFTs.

  • The Bored Ape Yacht Club (also known as “BAYC,” “Bored Apes,” among many other things) was launched by Yuga Labs in April 2021 and has since been one of the world’s most lucrative (50 ETH, or $200,000 minimum) NFT collections to date.
  • Jimmy McNeils, a notable NFT collector who goes by the moniker “jimmy.eth” online, signed a group of four of his Apes to UMG’s 10:22PM, a new label focused on bridging the gap between music and Web 3 by discovering digital artists and brands.
    • Similar to when a traditional artist signs a contract with a record label, contracts with virtual performers include a provision allowing the label to use the artist’s likeness. In exchange, the virtual artist will receive a share of royalties.
  • Though the news feels unprecedented, it builds upon older trials of avatars as artists. In China, for example, virtual idols have been a fast growing sector of the music business for years, like artists Luo Tianyi and Ayayi. (Billboard)

The City with the Most Cafes: Shanghai

A report published by The Rising Lab (Shanghai business media group Yicai’s research arm) states that Shanghai has nearly 7,000 coffee shops (that’s 2.85 coffee shops per 10,000 people). In comparison, London has 3,233 and New York has 1,591.

I welcome any feedback on how to improve this newsletter. You can reach me by email at [email protected].