NEAR Protocol is working with blockchain gaming firm Web3Games and Chinese artist Heshan Huang to sell his non-fungible token (NFT)-based “real estate” during this year’s Taobao Maker Festival sponsored by Alibaba.
Taobao announced on Jan. 16 that it will update its purchase recommendation service HeyBox to turn it into HeyDesign, a blockchain-powered platform for digital artworks. Launched in 2017, HeyBox recommends items to buyers and sellers on Taobao using artificial intelligence and Alibaba’s big data. HeyDesign, or Youyin in Chinese, plans to attract more than 100 artists or businesses to publish design pieces on the platform. (ChinaZ.com, in Chinese)
The artworks were available to buy only via Taobao, and all of them — including 300 virtual apartments, 10 houses and 350 parking spaces in Toorich City — sold out. When purchasers bought the virtual real estate on Taobao, they received a printed property ownership certificate in the virtual city — a QR code that led to the Near platform so they could check its authenticity and resell it to other users.
NEAR claims this year will be the first time the Taobao Maker Festival includes NFTs. Buyers will be able to place their order on Taobao and make a payment with the local Chinese currency, the renminbi, according to Huang.
However, the company said potential buyers will need to click through a link and register a NEAR wallet to claim their NFT digital art.
It is not the first time that Alibaba Group has explored NFTs. One of China’s biggest payment apps, Alipay, a product of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, sold four batches of NFT artworks — a total of 32,000 pieces — in late June. All were sold out within a day.
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