NFTs Make Official Debut at Alibaba’s Taobao Maker Festival

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In Brief
  • Chinese artist Huang He Shan's collection is the first NFT series to be included at the annual Taobao Maker Festival.

  • The Bu Tu Garden Community NFT exhibit includes ten "luxury single-family villas" among others.

  • The Artist worked on the NFT series with blockchain gaming company Web3Games and dApp platform NEAR Protocol.

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A major e-commerce platform in China has included non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for sale at its annual festival.

Taobao has held its Maker Festival since 2016. And this year, the festival has welcomed a series of NFTs from artist Huang He Shan, who worked with blockchain gaming company Web3Games and decentralized application (dApp) platform NEAR Protocol to make it happen. Tech and e-commerce giant Alibaba owns Taobao, and sponsors the Maker Festival, which began this year on July 17.

Huang’s collection has comprised of NFT “real estate,” all encompassed within the virtual Bu Tu Garden Community. The series included ten unique buildings described as luxury single-family villas. There was also 300 so-called high-end building units, and a further 1,000 “Umbrella” NFTs. The Bu Tu Garden Community forms a part of Huang’s full NFT collection entitled “Toorich City Series,” which was created around a virtual real estate tycoon called Mr. Toorich. 

The annual Maker Festival brings together creators and innovators from the Taobao community. According to reports, this is the first time the summit has included NFTs.

NFTs and real estate

While Huang He Shan’s collection revolves around virtual properties and an equally virtual real estate tycoon, others in the crypto space have been blending property and NFTs in a very real way.

Back in June, Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, sold an apartment he owned in Kiev as an NFT. To do so, he joined forces with Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of Propy, a property sale and purchase platform using blockchain technology.

Bidding for the studio apartment in the Ukrainian capital started at $20,000. A total of 43 bids followed; the property eventually sold for 36 Ether (ETH), which at the time, equated to $93,429.

Arrington also bought the property in question with Propy back in 2017. The purchase formed part of the first ever blockchain-based real estate sale.

Meanwhile, virtual real estate has not escaped the notice of certain high-flyers in the crypto space. At the end of June, reports revealed that Galaxy Interactive, a division of Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, had become the lead investor in Republic Realm. This U.S.-based company purchases virtual real estate in NFT form, and then develops those real estate holdings by adding buildings.

According to reports, Republic Realm’s Managing Director Janine Yorio called Novogratz’s support a vote of confidence for the $10 million investment vehicle.


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Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.

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