China’s national NFT market
In a joint effort between the state-owned Chinese Technology Exchange, the state-owned Art Exhibitions China and the corporation Huban Digital Copyrights Ltd, China’s first national NFT marketplace is scheduled to come online this week.
It’s designed as a secondary market for trading digital collectibles, along with copyrights for digital assets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s built on China’s national Wenbao, or “cultural protection” blockchain, which helps verify the authenticity of artifacts and commercial goods. Currently, only the NFT platform’s landing page is accessible.
1,400 Blockchain companies in China
The state-owned China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) revealed in its national whitepaper that more than 1,400 blockchain companies are operating in China despite strict regulations. China and the United States account for 52% each of such entities worldwide. CAICT researchers provided an example of distributed-ledger applications in public services.
“[In the] Zhejiang Provincial blockchain electronic invoice platform, [authorities] used blockchain’s multiple access point and decentralized process capabilities, along with technological highlights such as smart contracts, to improve the trust verification across various departments. This led to the digital circulation of electronic invoices; their issuance, receipt, inspection, reimbursement, and improved the information management level and service capabilities of electronic invoices in financial departments.”
Shanghai Securities News, a local news outlet, reported that the digital yuan central banks digital currency, or e–CNY CBDC in Chinese, has exceeded 104.8 billion Chinese yuan ($15.21 trillion) in use in Zhejiang province since April’s inception. According to authorities, 24.14 millions provincial residents have opened e–CNY wallets. They claimed that they have distributed 3.5 Billion Yuan ($510 Million) in tax refunds to residents via the e–CNY as an experiment. Despite the results, experts such as former Chinese central banker Xie Peng said that “usage has been low” for the CBDC.
Kunming’s blockchain KPIs
The City of Kunming released its three-year plan to develop the municipal digital economy on December 30. The report set a 25% annual growth target for the city’s digital economy to surpass 500 billion yuan ($72.58 billion) in two years. In addition, local-level communist party officials must meet collective key performance indicators of incubating at least 20 blockchain-specific applications and encouraging the development of at least 10 “strongly competitive” and technologically advanced blockchain firms by the end of 2024. “Please implement [them] fully and completely,” the document states.
Moutai’s metaverse hits 1 million users
The joint venture of popular Chinese liquor distiller Moutai with internet technology firm WangYi was launched on January 1st via the Apple App Store. The experience is based upon the Guizhou Moutai Distilleries. Players and distillers can interact to share their traditional Moutai-making experiences.
Two days later, the number of registered users had surpassed 1,000,000, and the app ranked No. The app is ranked No.1 in China’s ecommerce category. However, the app only had a rating of 2.4/5 at the time of writing, with users complaining about in-game features, “excruciating” wait times for Know Your Customer verification, login difficulties and poor customer service. One user wrote:
“There is no customer hotline, there is no customer service, and I don’t even know where to solve the problem. I looked forward to joining from the waitlist, but I could never pass KYC on the day of the app’s release. What’s wrong? I’m literally begging you to take my money so I can play this game, but it seems you don’t want it?”
Hong Kong Crypto Scams Get Worse
Currently, Hong Kong residents cannot trade cryptocurrencies unless they are classified as “professional investors” or have at least 8 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.02 million) in bankable assets. These regulations have not done much to stop the rise in crypto scams.
Rthk.hk cited a Hong Kong police report that revealed that the region had recorded 1,503 investment scam cases in the first 10 month of 2022. This is an increase of 10% over the previous year.
About 70% of the scams involved cryptocurrency. After being contacted by a representative claiming to have exclusive information about the price of SUSHI tokens, Mr. Lee lost 180,000 HKD ($23,000). After his supposed trading account was closed without explanation, Mr. Lee later called police.
Square Enix is all in on Blockchain
Yosuke Motatsuda (president of Japanese gaming giant Square Enix) stated in an annual letter on January 1 that the company would focus its business on blockchain entertainment. The move follows Square Enix’s announcement on May 3 that it would sell its blockbuster video game franchise Tomb Raider and use the proceeds to invest in new initiatives such as blockchain, though it still retains other popular franchises such as Final Fantasy. Matsuda wrote:
“I think it is fair to say that blockchain gained significant recognition as a field in 2022, as evidenced by ‘Web 3.0’ becoming a firmly established buzzword among businesspeople. However, the year also saw volatility in the cryptocurrency and NFT markets that tracked the dramatic shifts in the macroeconomy described above.”
Matsuda also said that aside from monetization, blockchain and NFTs should be “delivering new experiences and excitement to customers” and that the company had “multiple blockchain games based on original IPs under development.” In its latest filing, Square Enix reported 163 billion Japanese yen ($1.23 billion) in revenue and 39.4 billion yen ($297 million) in profit for the first six months to Sept. 30.
It’s been an amazing year of games and 2023 is looking even better!❄️
Here’s a message from all of us at Square Enix wishing you a Happy New Year!
📽️ https://t.co/C9hdvi1GwZ pic.twitter.com/AOSRXdjizg
— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) December 31, 2022