Digestible news about the latest developments across the fields of NFT, blockchain and metaverse in China, delivered to you every week.
This week: Chinese stock photo provider Visual China Group launches NFT platform, Xinhua News Agency issues NFTs on Tencent‘s Enterprise blockchain, Gucci announces collaboration with Chinese IP Marsper, and more.
Chinese Stock Photo Provider Visual China Group (VCG) Launches NFT Platform
Visual China Group (VCG) launched its digital art collectibles platform “Yuan Shijue,” which can be loosely translated into “meta-visual.” The platform is accessible via a WeChat mini program.
- The first batch of collectibles include a black-and-white portrait by Chinese photojournalist Xie Hailong titled “Big Eyes.” The portrait depicts a young schoolgirl looking up from her notebook, and has been known as an iconic work of photojournalism that communicates the needs millions of children in rural China to receive an education.
- The piece is selling at 199 yuan ($31) and is limited to 10,000 copies. The proceeds will go to the Anhui Youth Development Foundation to support the education of young people in rural China.
- Similar to other Chinese NFT platforms, users are not allowed to trade collectibles or create derivative works. This is in alignment with the Chinese government’s goal to prevent speculation in the NFT market.
- Founded in 2000, VCG is the largest stock image and media footage provider in China and third largest in the world. Since 2006, VCG has also been the exclusive distributor of Getty Images’ library in China. (Pingwest)
China’s State Media Xinhua Issues NFTs on Tencent’s Enterprise Blockchain
The official Xinhua News Agency has issued “digital news collectibles” on its news app, a first for China and a boost for the blockchain technology that underpins them.
- The collectibles are minted from select news photography reports from this year, and issued for free via Xinhua’s news app.
- Xinhua’s “digital news collectibles” have unique identification and ownership information built into Tencent Cloud, and are of “special commemorative significance and collection value,” according to the agency.
- The first batch of collectibles include a total of eleven photos, with 10,000 copies of each. One of them is a photo commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and would “imprint digital memories into the metaverse”, according to the agency.
- The move comes despite China’s crackdown on crypto, which in past years has meant bans on all exchanges, crypto mining, transactions and initial coin offerings. (Reuters, Bloomberg)
Gucci Announces Collaboration with Chinese IP Marsper
Italian luxury fashion house Gucci announced a collaboration this week with Chinese trend IP Marsper to create a series of collectible virtual figurines.
- The launch marks Gucci’s latest move into the metaverse and augmented reality space. It is also the brand’s first-ever collaboration with a Chinese IP, signalling the brand’s determination to tap the country’s booming cultural consumption market.
- The new realm of the metaverse promises to help luxury brands capture lucrative sales and potentially hedge against China’s common prosperity efforts, as it might be more difficult for the Chinese government to crack down on conspicuous consumption in the virtual realm.
- So far, luxury houses have mainly ventured onto the big gaming platforms. On top of direct sales – either from skins or physical products tied to a game – getting involved in the metaverse can help luxury brands reach new, younger customers.
- According to Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, the most lucrative crossover between luxury brands and the metaverse is creating NFTs. The profit margins of NFTs are extremely high, as it costs far less to create a digital handbag than the real thing. Sales generated by NFTs are expected to reach $12.5 billion by 2030. (Bloomberg, Sohu)
Chinese Painter Qi Baishi’s Work Minted into NFT
Qi’s signature ink painting, entitled Shrimps, was minted into an NFT by Top Holder, a platform that converts media content into digital collectibles.
- The artist’s work will make its debut on December 31 as part of Shanghai Jiahe Auction, a blockchain art-themed auction.
- Created in 1953, Shrimps is one of Qi’s best-known works. It currently hangs in a gallery in Changsha, Hunan.
- Qi’s works are known for their whimsical, playful styles, and for covering a wide variety of subjects including vegetables, humans and animals.
- Qi Baishi (1863-1957) was one of China’s most influential artists. He grew up in a peasant family from Xiangtan, Hunan, and taught himself to paint by studying The Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, a printed manual of Chinese painting compiled during the early Qing Dynasty. (Sohu)
South Korean Government Tells Apple and Google Stores to Take Down P2E Games
The South Korean government has moved to block the release of new play-to-earn (P2E) games and requested that existing ones be removed from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
- P2E gaming has become popular in the cryptocurrency industry. Gamers typically must first purchase game pieces as NFTs in order to play the game and receive in-game rewards. However, gaming prizes over a few dollars are banned in South Korea.
- The Game Management Committee (GMC) in the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism on Monday requested major mobile app marketplaces block any games that require in-app purchases before playing the game.
- To combat the proliferation of what it sees as speculative money-making schemes, the GMC has made it all but impossible for P2E game developers to get their work listed on the most popular mobile app stores. (Cointelegraph)
Cats are the only mammals that can’t taste sweetness…
- Because of a genetic defect! One of the two genes necessary to make the sweetness receptor got permanently switched off millions of years ago.
- And cats may lack other components in the body to help them enjoy and digest sugars, such as glucokinase in their livers, which is an important enzyme that controls the metabolism of carbohydrates and prevents glucose from flooding the animal.
- Despite this, most major pet food manufacturers use corn or other grains in their meals, and that’s why so many cats are getting diabetes.
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. Have a great weekend, and see you in 2022!