By living in a digital age, we are constantly mesmerized by the sophistication of technology advancement. In the early days, the internet was a luxury commodity, while blockchain technology, from cryptocurrency to NFTs, has dominated the world we live in today. So, we will not talk about how blockchain technology works but rather the NFTs that successfully attracted Asia’s market attention for the last couple of years. NFT’s performance across Asia, especially Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia has left a good impression on consumers. Some artists, in particular, also felt blessed after NFTs went mainstream as they could monetize their artwork while protecting its legal ownership better.
The explosion of the NFTs phenomenon is quite surprising as well. For instance, in Indonesia, it is worthy of the public’s attention after a college student named Ghozali successfully sold 932 NFT of his photo selfie worth 12 billion Rupiah. Since he is considered a pioneer, he gets 10% from every transaction.
Up until now, Ghozali claimed that he had already received around 1.5 billion Rupiah. Wow! Could you imagine that your everyday-look selfies are worth that much? NFT made it possible.
NFTs Performance in Asia: Something You Should Not Have Overlooked
According to a report by research firm Finder, Southeast Asians made up most NFT-based web traffic last year. Additionally, Global Google trends data for 2021 found that search queries for NFTs came most frequently from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea. Asian communities are undoubtedly becoming more and more curious about NFTs and their growing ecosystem in the market.
On top of that, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia ranked in the top 3 Finder’s list of web traffic, with the NFT ownership in each country representing 32%, 27%, and 24%, respectively. Moreover, research firm Chainalysis Inc. stated that Central and Southeast Asia accounted for 35% of the $22 billion in the global trade of NFTs last year. These data have shown that NFTs performance in Asia is something remarkable and significant.
Furthermore, NFT’s popularity is also spreading and rising across Asia. NFT Asia, a community for Asian NFT artists, has some 2,700 members on Discord and over 9,000 followers on Twitter. It even provides such a directory on the NFT Asia’s website, designed to let collectors discover artists from every part of the world, especially Asia. Such a list on the directory will always continue to grow as artists continue to make artwork and put their trust in NFT.
Here are the three remarkable journeys of NFT in Asia!
Starting from Creators and Collectors, NFTs Value Art and Collectibles
Talking about NFT, we cannot take its impact on arts and artists for granted. Since its appearance, NFT has caught many artists across the globe to showcase their works in the form of digital assets, considering the uniqueness and rarity of their digital arts. Asian artists have also spread their wings to fly into digital space. Here are some Asian artists that may be highly regarded for their arts and NFT purchases:
1) Abdul Hafiz Abdul Rahman – he is known as a graffiti artist and illustrator Katun. He sold two of his NFT collections for 127.6 ETH, which amounted to RM 1.6 million within 24 hours, one of which is his artwork named “Mystical Fruits”.
2) Takahiro Suganuma – Based on his profile on Makersplace, Suganuma is a Tokyo-based illustrator whose works evoke a quiet atmosphere with soft lines and calm color. One of his artworks, “Flock of Sheep” is inspired by an acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s Adventures of a Sheep which was purchased at US$650.
3) Shin Oh – A Malaysian Volumetric Pixel (Voxel) artist who voices self-love and empathy through his amazing artwork. Her NFT creations can be identified by their single lego-like rooms created on plain backgrounds and short videos themed on melancholic emotions of loneliness, isolation, solitude, and emptiness, as well as memories of lost love and nostalgia.
New Business Models and Potential Investment
The rising trend of NFT is receiving a warm welcome from people in business and investors all across Asia. It is marked by the significant growth of the NFT marketplaces in which some business players are interested in spreading their business into this field.
The Indian cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX, launched South Asia’s first NFT marketplace in June last year, with 15 NFT creators all across Asia. Collectors can purchase NFTs on WazirX’s marketplace only through the platform’s native token WRX.
The platform allowed creators to pay a minimal “gas fee” – payments made by NFT creators to compensate for the computing energy required – to save them on the blockchain. Basically, gas fees are similar to administrative fees usually charged by banks to customers to process transactions, such as transferring money or paying bills.
Another business model adopted in the NFT ecosystem is the NFT LaunchPad service. In this kind of model, service providers will help creators market their NFT work, starting from minting, and making smart contracts to marketing strategies, so that the wider public can know more about the work. LaunchPad service providers will also be connected to various NFT marketplaces, so creators can easily choose which platform suits their preferences.
Last but not least, the rapid growth of NFT in Asia has also been seen in the play-to-earn. This business model implements NFT technology into a game. Players who want to get a collection of NFT must complete a challenge in a game. Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based game developed by a Vietnamese company, Sky Mavis, has been becoming more popular as it applies this new business model. In this game, players collect and mint NFTs that represent digital pets known as “Axies”.
Such growth has also been noticed in a way that a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming company, Animoca Brands is at the lead of the region’s NFT pack with a company valuation of approximately US$5 billion. Animoca then becomes the primary investor in Axie Infinity.
Social Engineering: Medium to Make Protests and Strike Back at Censorship
In China, some artists are even using NFTs to protest and raise specific issues or concerns. Last month, Chinese political artist, Badiuco, released his Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics NFT collection. Such collection depicts Chinese oppression of Tibetans, alleged Uighur genocide, Hong Kong unrest, surveillance systems, and a lack of transparency around Covid-19.
Not only being utilized to make protests against specific issues, but some ordinary people and content creators also use NFT to defend against censorship. As Chinese internet censors have attempted to scrub content from social media during the pandemic, people are increasingly turning to NFT as a medium to secure images, videos, audio, and social media posts on a blockchain to prevent their deletion. Around 250 NFTs labeled as siyuezhisheng, for “Voices of April,” are now listed on OpenSea, one of the world’s largest NFT marketplaces. Many have no price tag or are priced very low, a sign they aren’t really intended for sale. OpenSea also hosts NFTs of photos, videos, audio recordings, and memes capturing the experiences of recent lockdowns in China.
So, fella, what do you think about NFT? Very interesting, right? As NFT becomes a rising star in our digital world, you better start defining your position. Being an artist whose artwork is minted by NFTs seems to be a good beginning. Expecting short-term investment from NFT while enjoying the artwork itself is absolutely appealing too. And for those who are eager to speak louder, NFT is nothing but your effective medium.
Written by: Patricia Cindy Andriani (@patricia.cindyandriani)
A law graduate who loves writing so much. She is genuinely driven by her purpose to work for child right issues in the digital environment. Joining AYO as Content Writer is something she cherishes about.