Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is giving away free non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to those who sign up for its annual technology conference JD Discovery, in a move to jump on the NFT bandwagon following its rivals Alibaba and Tencent.
- JD.com’s tech arm JD Technology said yesterday in a social media post it is giving away seven NFTs based on its mascot figure JOY, and users who register for the conference and share the registration invitations with friends could receive the entire set of seven NFTs until Nov. 22.
- The NFTs are minted on the tech giant’s own blockchain JD Zhizhen chain (智臻链).
- The company said the free NFT airdrop represented its first step to “test the water” in the NFT field, as it works to develop its own blockchain technology and further apply NFT technology in areas including copyright protection, public welfare, art collection and e-commerce.
- Alibaba and Tencent have both made forays into NFTs. Last month, Alibaba’s online retailer Tmall sold out a collection of NFTs featuring mooncakes — a signature snack made to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. In July, Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao also sold NFTs that were created in collaboration with Near Protocol at its annual shopping festival.
- In August, Chinese internet giant Tencent launched an NFT trading platform named Huanhe, which was built on the company’s own Zhixin chain.
- While the tech giants in China have embraced the idea of NFTs, they have refrained from offering re-selling features for users amid regulatory concerns. The country’s state media have expressed concerns over the new form of digital collectibles. Last month, Securities Times, a sister paper of the People’s Daily, published an opinion piece to criticize NFTs as hype and suggested the digital assets should serve the real economy by tokenizing actual assets.
- Just last week, the Chinese government-aligned newspaper Guangming Daily also published an opinion article to criticize NFT hype, saying it is “definitely not good for the healthy development of NFT.”
- Notably, the Guangming Daily article praised Alibaba’s blockchain arm AntChain’s stance on NFT mania, when AntChain last month removed an NFT bidding item from Alibaba’s auction platform Ali Auction after the bid price once went through the roof to 3.149 million yuan (about US$490,000). AntChain said at the time: “We firmly oppose all forms of digital collection hype, and resolutely resist any form of illegal activities in the name of digital collection, which are actually virtual currency-related activities.”