NFTs Are Creating a Splash in China’s Art Scene

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In 2021, Chinese singer A Duo hit the headlines for raising $47,000 at an auction by selling a non-fungible token (NFT) of a song.

The rise of NFTs represents a real opportunity for Chinese artists to leverage technology to connect directly with fans and collectors while dramatically increasing their earning potential.

The Tezos ecosystem’s flourishing artistic community and commitment to growing blockchain adoption in Asia is also supporting the growth of NFT art in the world’s most populous nation.

The creative and market potential of China’s NFT art scene

A 2020 Chinese Musicians Report found that less than half of Chinese musicians make any income from their music, a situation that’s likely familiar for artists across many disciplines.

While A Duo was already a high profile musician, her successful NFT song sale reflects the new power of the creator economy — where audiences will clamor for desirable digital content produced by independent artists, designers, musicians, writers, and celebrities.

Consequently, NFTs are emerging as a key way for Chinese artists at all levels to monetize their content and make meaningful connections with their fans.

Asia’s appetite for digital collectibles is strong, and despite regulatory caution, including a government ban on cryptocurrency, NFT art has already escaped obscurity in China.

In March 2021, UCCA Lab, an offshoot of China’s foremost contemporary art museum, held what was described as “the world’s first major institutional crypto-art exhibition” titled Virtual Niche: Have You Ever Seen Memes in the Mirror?

The UCCA NFT exhibition showcased the works of over 60 artists, including pieces by Beeple, hot on the heels of the artist’s record-breaking $69 million NFT sale at Christie’s auction house — which was a global milestone in the rise of NFTs.

NFT art continues to gain momentum through significant real-world exhibitions across Chinese territories, such as Art Basel Hong Kong, and through branded displays and collaborations, in line with a burgeoning local online market for NFT collecting.

Tezos artist community in China finds an audience via NFTs

Artists are boosting their careers, and China’s art scene more broadly, by minting and selling NFTs on Tezos.

One of China’s top NFT creators, Song Ting, helped to develop the open source community in China and began curating exhibitions to showcase local blockchain-based culture in 2019.

Her artwork — which uses NFTs, animation, and AI to breathe new life into traditional imagery and topics from Chinese literature — has generated significant interest in China. In fact, she made history by achieving the first sale of a blockchain-based artwork via a traditional Chinese auction house.

Ting’s preference for the Tezos blockchain is due to its colorful ecosystem and her desire to promote clean NFTs.

“As an ambassador of International Olymp’Arts, I needed to find a more sustainable and energy-friendly way to create digital artworks. ‘NFTs for good’ is very important to me, so Tezos was a logical choice.”

Beijing-based algorithmic artist, Reva, transitioned from working as a software engineer to becoming a full-time creative in late 2018, with her main source of income now being NFT sales.

She also co-founded WeirDAO, a collective predominantly comprised of China-based NFT artists, designed to encourage peer-to-peer communication and collaboration.

“It’s important for artists to help each other. Especially at this stage.”

Reva said the evolution of NFTs enabled Chinese artists to expand their horizons, support each other through art focussed ecosystems like Tezos, and forge new relationships with collectors.

“It also allows collectors to collect the artworks they like. This allows the diversity of art to develop. And it may bring a new aesthetic to digital art.”

Chinese NFT artist, Riniifish — known for her animated pieces that convey a tiny yet vibrant universe of bugs — believes the Chinese market may take a bit longer to embrace more diversity in aesthetics, as many are still wary of taking a chance on crypto-art.

“That being said, the NFT community in China is getting bigger and bigger, and there are some awesome artists that I know here who are very talented. They keep their minds open, which is very cool,” Riniifish said.

She said minting NFTs has helped her grow in her identity as an artist and gain more opportunities, such as a collaboration with a fashion brand and an upcoming solo exhibition in Milan, Italy.

Riniifish highlighted the Tezos ecosystem’s friendly community vibe that encompassed a mix of art styles and world views: “In this community, we put aside our prejudices and experience a beautiful paradox of embracing individuality while blending the West and the East.”

Marketplaces and blockchain development fuel the growth of NFTs in China

In some respects, the Chinese Government has been at the forefront of blockchain application through its development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) known as the digital yuan.

However, the country’s ban on cryptocurrency transactions and trades makes buying and selling digital collectibles more limited. Still, an increasing number of marketplaces cater to creators and collectors.

Some major tech companies involved in China’s NFT space, like JD.com, Baidu and Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, have committed to a range of self-regulation measures, such as requiring real-name authentication and only supporting legal tender for sales.

Another government-backed initiative that will expand access for Chinese NFT artists and collectors is the Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN). This public-private nationwide infrastructure project will support the deployment of applications built on public chains to spur mass adoption of the technology across China.

Tezos ecosystem supporting China’s growth in the NFT space

Advancing the Tezos ecosystem in Asia is also fostering the growth of Chinese NFT art. For example, cultivating the talent of China-based teams building on the Tezos blockchain through various grants has helped drive innovative projects that support a flourishing arts scene. For instance, the NFT art curation and universal identity platform Dataverse, which has seen more than 60 million data streams created since its launch.

There are also plans for Tezos NFTs to feature in a number of significant events on the Chinese arts calendar, such as Photofairs Shanghai and displays held in the West Bund cultural district, bringing digital assets into the physical world.

Despite the regulatory barriers to blockchain and NFTs in China, there’s clearly booming interest in the exploration of the technology — being led by creatives, developers, and collectors on the Tezos blockchain, helping democratize the art scene.


NFT, Bumubuo ng usapan sa Art Scene ng China

Nitong 2021, ang Chinese singer na si A Duo ay naibalita dahil sa $47,000 na nalikom niya mula sa isang auction sa pamamagitan ng pagbenta ng non-fungible token (NFT) ng kaniyang kanta.

Ang pag-usbong ng NFT ay nagrerepresenta ng isang totoong oportunidad para sa mga Chinese artists upang i-leverage ang technology na direktang makakonekta sa mga fans at collectors habang kapansin-pansing itinataas ang kanilang earning potential.

Ang yumayabong na artistic community ng Tezos ecosystem at ang kanilang commitment sa pagpapalaki ng blockchain adoption sa Asia ay sumusuporta rin sa paglago ng NFT art sa bansang ito na may pinakamalaking populasyon sa mundo.

Ang creative at market potential ng NFT art scene sa China

Sa 2020 Chinese Musician Report, nakita na mababa pa sa kalahati ng mga Chinese musicians ang nakalilikha ng kita mula sa kanilang mga kanta, isang sitwasyon na malamang ay pamilyar sa mga artists mula sa iba’t ibang disiplina.

Habang si A duo ay isa naman nang high profile musician, ang matagumpay na sale ng kaniyang NFT song ay sumasalamin sa bagong lakas ng creator economy — kung saan ang audiences ay mag-iingay para sa mga kanais-nais na digital content na ginawa ng mga independent artists, designers, musikero, manunulat at mga artista.

Dahil dito, ang mga NFT ay umuusbong bilang isang mahalagang paraan para sa mga Chinese artists mula sa iba’t ibang lebel upang mapagkakitaan ang kanilang content at makagawa ng makahulugang mga koneksyon sa kanilang mga tagahanga.

Ang appetite ng Asia para sa digital collectibles ay malakas, at sa kabila ng regulatory caution, kabilang dito ang government ban sa cryptocurrency, ang NFT art ay nakatakas na sa mga pagdududang natatanggap nito sa China.

Noong March 2021, ang UCCA Lab, isang offshoot ng nangungunang contemporary art museum sa China, ay nagdaos ng sinasabi nilang “ang kauna-unahang major institutional crypto-art exhibition sa mundo” na tinawag na Virtual Niche: Have You Ever Seen Memes in the Mirror?

Ang UCCA NFT exhibition na ito ay naglabas ng mga gawa ng higit 60 artists, kabilang ang mga obra ni Beeple, kasunod ng kaniyang recordbreaking na $69 million NFT sale sa Christie’s auction house — isang global milestone sa pag-usbong ng NFT.

Ang NFT art ay patuloy na nakakakuha ng momentum sa pamamagitan ng mahahalagang real-world exhibitions mula sa iba’t ibang Chinese territories, tulad ng Art Basel Hong Kong, at sa pamamagitan ng branded display at collaborations, na naaayon sa umuusbong local online market para sa NFT collecting.

Tezos artist community sa China, nakahanap ng audience sa pamamagitan ng NFT

Pinalalakas ng mga artists ang kanilang mga career, at lalo na ang art scene sa China, sa pamamagitan ng pagmint at pagbenta ng mga NFT sa Tezos.

Isa sa top NFT creator sa China na si Song Ting, ay nakatulong sa pagdevelop ng open source community sa China at nagsimulang mag-curate ng mga exhibition upang ipresenta ang local blockchain-based culture noong 2019.

Ang kanyang mga obra — na gumagamit ng NFT, animations at AI upang bigyang bagong buhay ang traditional imagery at topics mula sa Chinese literature — ay nakapaglikha na ng malaking interes sa China. Sa katunayan, naging bahagi na siya ng kasaysayan matapos niyang makamit ang unang sale ng kaniyang blockchain-based artwork na ginanap sa isang tradisyunal na Chinese auction house.

Ang pagkagusto ni Ting sa Tezos blockchain ay dahil sa makulay nitong ecosystem at ang kaniyang hangaring makapagpromote ng clean NFTs.

“As an ambassador of International Olymp’Arts, I needed to find a more sustainable and energy-friendly way to create digital artworks. ‘NFTs for good’ is very important to me, so Tezos was a logical choice.” (Bilang embahador ng International Olymp’Arts, kailangan kong makahanap ng mas sustainable at energy-friendly na paraan upang makalikha ng digital artworks. Ang ‘NFTs for good’ ay napakahalaga para sa akin, kaya naman kung papapiliin, ang Tezos ang logical choice.).

Ang Beijing-based algorthmic artist na si Reva ay lumipat mula sa pagtatrabaho bilang isang software engineer tungo sa pagiging isang full-time creative nitong huling bahagi ng 2018, na kung saan ang kaniyang pangunahing pinagmumulan ng kita ay ang kaniyang NFT sales.

Siya rin ang co-founder ng WeirDAO, isang kolektibo na binubuo karamihan ng China-based NFT artists, na dinisensyo upang hikayatin ang peer-to-peer communication at collaboration.

“It’s important for artists to help each other. Especially at this stage.” (Mahalaga para sa mga artists na tulungan ang isa’t isa. Lalo na sa pagkakataong ito.)

Ayon kay Reva, ang ebolusyon ng NFT ay nagbigay kakayahan sa mga Chinese artists na magpalawak ng kanilang eksperyensya, suportahan ang isa’t isa sa pamamagitan ng sining na nakapokus sa ecosystem na tulad ng Tezos, at pumanday ng mga bagong relasyon kasama ang mga collectors.

 “It also allows collectors to collect the artworks they like. This allows the diversity of art to develop. And it may bring a new aesthetic to digital art.” (Pinapayagan nito ang mga collectors na kumolekta ng mga obra na gusto nila. Binibigyan nitong kakayahan ang pagkakaiba-iba ng sining na umunlad. At maaaring magdala rin ito ng bagong aesthetic sa digital art)

Ang Chinese NFT artists na si Riniifish — kilala sa kaniyang animated pieces na nagdadala sa atin sa isang maliit pero masiglang universe ng mga bugs — ay naniniwalang medyo matagal pa bago lubusang yakapin ng Chinese market ang mas maraming pagkakaiba-iba sa aesthetic, dahil marami pa rin ang nagdududa na pasukin ang crypto-art.

“That being said, the NFT community in China is getting bigger and bigger, and there are some awesome artists that I know here who are very talented. They keep their minds open, which is very cool,” (Sa sinabing iyon, ang NFT community sa China ay papalaki na nang palaki , at mayroon pang ilang kamangha-manghang artist na kakilala ko ang may mahusay na talento) ani Riniifish.

Aniya, ang pagmint ng NFT ay nakatulong sa kaniya upang mapalago ang kaniyang identidad bilang isang artist at makakuha ng mas maraming oportunidad, tulad ng kaniyang collaboration kasama ang isang fashion brand at ang nalalapit niyang solo exhibit sa Milan, Italy.

Ibinida ni Riniifish ang friendly vibe ng Tezos community na sumasaklaw sa pinaghalo-halong art styles at world views: “In this community, we put aside our prejudices and experience a beautiful paradox of embracing individuality while blending the West and the East.” (Sa community na ito, isinasantabi namin ang aming mga pagkiling at napagdaraanan namin ang magandang paradox ng pagyakap sa indibidwalidad habang pinaghahalo ang Kanluran at ang Silangan.)

Marketplaces at blockchain development, pinasisiklab ang paglago ng NFT sa China

Ang gobyerno ng China ay nangunguna pagdating sa blockchain application sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pagbuo ng isang central bank digital currency (CBDC) na kilala bilang digital yuan.

Gayumpaman, ang ban ng bansa sa cryptocurrency transactions at trades ay naging dahilan kung bakit ang pagbili at pagbenta ng digital collectibles ay naging limitado. Sa kabila nito, ang tumataas na bilang naman ng marketplaces ang nagpapaunlak sa mga creators at collectors.

Ang ilan sa mga nangungunang tech companies na may kinalaman sa NFT space ng China, tulad ng JD.com, Baidu at Alibaba affiliate Ant Group, ay nangakong magbibigay ng self-regulation measures, tulad ng pag-require sa real-name authentication at pagsuporta lamang sa legal tender para sa sales.

Ang isa pang inisyatibong suportado ng gobyerno na magpapalawak sa access para sa Chinese NFT artists at collectors ay ang Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN). Ang public-private nationwide infrastructure project na ito ay susuporta sa deployment ng application na ginawa sa mga public chains upang mahikayat ang mass adoption ng teknolohiya sa iba’t ibang panig ng China

Tezos ecosystem, sinusuportahan ang paglago sa NFT Space sa China

Ang pagsusulong ng Tezos ecosystem sa Asia ay pagsasa-isip rin sa paglago ng Chinese NFT art. Halimbawa, ang paglinang sa talento ng China-based teams na lumilikha sa Tezos blockchain sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang grants ay nakatulong sa pagsulong ng innovative projects na sumusuporta sa isang umuusbong na arts scene. Bilang halimbawa, ang NFT art curation at universal identity platform na Dataverse, na nakakita na ng higit 60 milyong data streams na nabuo simula pa noong nailunsad ito.

Mayroon ding mga plano para sa Tezos NFTS na itampok ito sa ilang mga mahahalagang events sa Chinese arts calendar, tulad ng Photofairs Shanghai at displays na ginaganap sa West Bund cultural district, kung saan dinadala ang mga digital assests sa physical world.

Sa kabila ng regulasyong bumabalakid sa blockchain at NFTs sa China, nakakakita tayo ng malinaw at umuusbong na interes sa pag-explore ng teknolohiyang ito — na pinangungunahan ng mga creatives, developers, at collectors sa Tezos blockchain, na tumutulong i-democratize ang art scene.

This article is published on BitPinas in collaboration with TZ APAC: NFTs Are Creating a Splash in China’s Art Scene

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