Alibaba’s E-Commerce Website Taobao to Include NFT Arts in Its Maker Festival

NEAR Protocol is working with blockchain gaming firm Web3Games and Chinese artist Heshan Huang to sell his non-fungible token (NFT)-based “real estate” during this year’s Taobao Maker Festival sponsored by Alibaba. 

The Alibaba-owned Taobao, one of the largest e-commerce websites in China, launched the festival in 2016 to encourage young Chinese artists and entrepreneurs to promote their art in its exhibition and sell their work through the website. This year’s festival will be held in the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai from July 17 through July 25. 

NFTs, most of which are based on decentralized public chains with native tokens, seem to have survived the recent crypto crackdown in China. While the country was shuttering crypto mining and trading activities, a major gallery in Beijing hosted a crypto-art exhibition in April. 

NEAR claims this year will be the first time that the Taobao Maker Festival includes NFTs. Buyers will be able to place their order on Taobao and make a payment with the local Chinese currency, the renminbi, according to Huang. 

However, the company said potential buyers will need to click through a link and register a NEAR wallet to claim their NFT digital art.

Huang’s digital artworks are in a virtual complex, where people can buy his unusually shaped and characteristic NFT buildings. 

This isn’t the first time an Alibaba-linked entity has been involved with NFTs.

Chinese payment giant Alipay, an Alibaba affiliate, launched two NFT-based digital art pieces in May. Owners of the art will see them on their Alipay app’s payment page whenever they make a purchase. 16,000 copies were sold out within hours. 

Shortly after the sale, Alipay clarified that NFTs are not cryptocurrencies and can not be traded at a much higher price.