• Hangzhou Asian Games 2022 to sell torch powered by Alipay NFT

  • The 2022 Asian Games has announced the sale of its first NFT series, despite widespread criticism of the non-fungible token (NFT) appearing in Chinese state-owned media.

    Organizers of the Asian Games, which will be held in September 2022 in Hangzhou, the capital city of the eastern province of Zhejiang, announced on social media what they said was the first NFT series in the history of the comprehensive games.

    The limited edition of 20,000 NFTs, priced at 39 yuan ($6) each and featuring the event’s torch, will go on sale starting Thursday through an in-app feature of Alipay, courtesy of Ant Chain, the blockchain arm of Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.

    Hangzhou, with a population of more than 10 million, is home to the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

    The NFT sale comes despite criticism of this new form of digital collectibles in the China-run media. The Securities Times, a sister paper to the state mouthpiece People’s Daily, published an opinion piece last week criticizing NFTs as hype and suggesting that digital assets should serve the real economy through the tokenization of real assets.

    NFT buyers’ cash may be withheld by NFT marketplace UMX.ART, as buyers are required to pay before bidding in the auction, despite an understanding that the platform will refund funds if their bid fails. However, Li Zhang, co-founder and CTO of UMX.ART, told us that buyers’ transactions are handled in a dedicated account and the company has strict internal rules to prevent funds from being transferred from that account to other accounts it manages.

    Alibaba has been active in launching NFTs. last weekend, Alibaba’s online retailer Tmall launched an NFT mooncake – a snack celebrating the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival – that sold out in one day.

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