Alipay unveils NFT-powered museum collectibles in honour of Chinese New Year

Alipay, a third-party online payment platform owned by Alibaba, is to bring a series of NFT-powered digital collectibles inspired by the 12 Chinese zodiacs, with the tiger – the zodiac sign in the coming Chinese New Year – being a protagonist.

These digital cultural relics are part of the company’s annual campaign known as “Five Fortune”, which is launched to celebrate the most important festival in the Chinese calendar.

A total of 24 museums across the country are expected to participate. Of whom, National Museum of China, Hebei Museum, Guizhou Provincial Museum, Hunan Museum, and Poly Art Museum are to release tiger-themed NFT (non-fungible tokens) work, as according to Alipay’s press release.

It is understood that these NFT collectibles are powered by Topnod, previously known as AntChain Fan Point, a mini-program embedded in the Alipay app which can collect, discover and share digital collectibles. Each digital collectible also represents a different type of Fortune, including the Fortune of Patriotism, the Fortune of Prosperity, the Fortune of Harmony, the Fortune of Kindness, and the Fortune of Dedication.

Credit: AntChain/Twitter

Those who collect five Fortunes can exchange them for a digital tiger relic. With these rules in place, the campaign skillfully leverages the play of “gathering five fortunes”, which adds more festive spirits to the special season. In the meantime, it also encourages more participation, therefore, driving the growth of the trading of NFT-powered products, allowing further stepping up in its layout in the NFT market.

This new marketplace for NFT was launched last year and has been viewed as another foray by the tech giant into blockchain technology and NFT trading. Since the opening, it appears to have become an engine in speeding up the digitalisation of traditional culture, with continuous collaboration with cultural institutions.

In partnership with Dunhuang Fine Arts Research Institute, Alipay launched Dunhuang-themed NFT payment code skins last June and saw 16,000 pieces be snatched up instantly, bringing a total sale of 158,400 RMB (£17,900) overnight.

As of October 2021, over 2,000 museums in China have launched their own mini-programs on the Alipay platform, leveraging this digital platform to reach the younger audience. The online market for NFT has, therefore, become an effective place to bring these cultural relics to China’s tech-savvy younger generations, who are also fans of the guochao trend, with a growing interest in modern technology infused with a cultural edge.

The distribution of these digital collectibles has started on 19 January, and users can explore and purchase through Topnod’s app and Alipay’s mini-program. In the meantime, the tiger-themed digital collectibles can be redeemed for free from 25 January with virtual cards collected from the “Five Fortune” campaign.

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