Digestible news on the latest developments across the fields of NFTs, blockchain and metaverse in China, compiled for you every week by Pandaily.
This week: Baidu airdrops NFTs ahead of digital collectible marketplace launch, Chinese socialverse Oasis closes Series-B financing round, Shanghai Data Exchange launches metaverse-based recruitment program, and more.
Baidu Airdrops NFTs Ahead of Digital Collectible Marketplace Launch
Chinese tech giant Baidu is airdropping 20,000 NFTs based on nostalgic cartoon characters ahead of its digital collectible marketplace launch by the end of March.
- According to crypto news website Forkast, Baidu‘s new NFT lineup includes “Talking Tom” and “Ali,” both of which were hugely popular cartoon characters in the 2010s.
- An airdrop, in the context of cryptocurrency, is an unsolicited distribution of a cryptocurrency token or coin, usually for free, to numerous wallet addresses. Airdrops are often associated with the launch of a new cryptocurrency, NFT, or DeFi protocol, primarily used for promotional purposes.
- Prior to launching its own NFT marketplace, Baidu developed “Xirang,” billed as a metaverse social network. In addition, the company distributed digitized profile pictures to users for free.(Forkast, Sohu)
Chinese Socialverse Oasis Closes Series-B Financing Round
Chinese metaverse social platform Oasis received funding in a Series-B round led by 5Y Capital, Vitalbridge Capital and BAI Capital.
- The Shanghai-based company says it will use the funding to improve its product and expand global operations and service capacities. In addition, the company is planning on launching a creator-centric content ecosystem by the end of this year.
- Oasis was launched in 2018 by Shanghai Weier Internet Technology Inc. The social platform gained over 6 million registered users in Q4 2021 to become one of the fastest-growing metaverse social platforms globally, according to data provided by SensorTower.
- Oasis was first published on Steam as Oasis VR, and later gained traction on mobile devices. A recent report by 36kr shows the platform gained over 2 million new users on average in recent months, with its number of daily active users (DAU) reaching 1 million. The platform’s DAU is expected to exceed 5 million by the end of this year.
- According to an Oasis spokesperson, the R&D team will focus on building a new economic system that allows creators to monetize their content. (PingWest, 36Kr)
Chinese Police Bust Illegal Crypto Mining Farm Disguised as EV Charging Station
Guangdong province’s Development and Reform Commission confiscated 190 crypto mining machines, estimated to be worth a collective 5 million yuan.
- The authorities busted a crypto mining site after detecting an unusual increase in electricity consumption at what were thought to be several local EV charging stations. The mining site was operational for over 1,000 hours and consumed more than 90,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
- Last September, China’s government banned all crypto mining and trading activities in the country, citing carbon emissions and electricity consumption concerns. Local officials responded by shutting down crypto and industrial mining operations, with some mining machines shipped to other countries.
- According to Cointelegaraph, a crypto news website, China used to account for over three quarters of the global Bitcoin hashrate. As of now, that number has dropped to nearly zero. (Cointelegraph, Visual Capitalist)
Shanghai Data Exchange Launches Metaverse-Based Recruitment Program
The state-backed Shanghai Data Exchange has launched what it describes as a metaverse-based recruitment program, in which jobseekers can virtually submit resumes to different departments.
- According to the South China Morning Post, job candidates will need to adopt avatars to move through the metaverse space and meet virtual representatives from each of the nine departments.
- At the moment, there are no human recruiters in the metaverse, and once the candidates have selected a gender for their avatars, they cannot change it.
- The recruitment process will last for eight days, ending on March 14, and is expected to fill positions including product R&D, risk management and marketing, the Exchange said in a statement on its website.
- Job candidates are encouraged share their experience on social media for the opportunity to win a “digital collectible,” China’s alternative to tradable, crypto-backed NFTs.
- The metaverse concept has gained traction since this year’s “Two Sessions,” China’s largest annual gathering of lawmakers and top political consultants. While state media has repeatedly warned the public of potential risks associated with the metaverse, several government work reports at the municipal level have endorsed the concept, while domestic businesses have rushed to capitalize on the new opportunities.
- The Shanghai Data Exchange, which started trading in November 2021, offers data products including flight information from China Eastern Airlines and various data from telecommunications network operators China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. (SCMP)
US Senators Sound Alarm Over China’s Digital Yuan
Nine U.S. senators are backing a bill that aims to crack down on China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the e-CNY or digital yuan, which they claim could allow Russia to bypass financial sanctions imposed on its banks and entities, according to crypto news website Forkast.
- “If left unchecked, technologies including China’s Digital Yuan will empower Russia to evade global sanctions on systems such as SWIFT and enable the [Chinese Communist Party] to further surveil and threaten their citizens,” Senator Marsha Blackburn said in a statement.
- BitMint CEO Amnon Samid, who participated in developing retail CBDC trials for China, said that at this stage China may propose to Russia to deploy its digital yuan for settling transactions in yuan on both sides of the border, but adding that “it cannot serve as a substitute to the SWIFT system.”
- The act would require the U.S. Department of State to issue a warning against the digital yuan.
- China’s state-backed Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) is also under fire, as the bill proposes the that the U.S. government examines the blockchain infrastructure’s privacy implications.
- “The bill would have no impact on China’s e-CNY which is still in trial,” said Richard Turrin, a Shanghai-based fintech consultant, adding that international users for the digital yuan will most likely be within China’s Belt and Road Initiative or the RCEP, meaning that the bill would have little meaningful impact.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you all are doing great, and see you again next week!