Newsletter #90 - The Thing with NFTs

Welcome to the Metaverse, are you ready?

Earlier this year, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, became a thing. NFTs are digital assets that can be bought or sold online. With NFTs, artists and creators have found a lucrative way of earning money, while more brands are minting digital collectibles that their consumers can buy and own.

Now, NFT sales surge to $10.7bn in Q3, hitting new highs as plenty of tech companies, such as TikTok, are dipping their toes into NFTS and Coinbase, the world’s 2nd largest crypto exchange, is bringing NFT to the masses.

Always be learning,

Team NC

🚀 NFT gains momentum for brands and artists in Asia


Southeast Asia’s burgeoning cryptoart movement [The Ken]

A leap for art, a lifeline for artists - Digital artists are used to being taken less seriously and physical art was almost always where the money was, but NFT has upended digital art. In the NFT world, artists can now set prices and open bids for their own works online, using platforms like SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, or OpenSea.

A new dawn for SEAsia’s artists - Artists in Asia said that NFTs have been game-changers. Before, most artists depended on work-for-hire jobs which often meant sticking to clients’ specifications and didn't allow them to retain the commercial rights for their work.

Now, not only do artists enjoy creative freedom when they sell their work as NFTs, they earn more as well, saying they’ve made 4-5 times more than what they would normally get from commissioned work.


Can NFTs happen in a crypto-less China? [Protocol]

Apparently, yes. But how? - In the West, NFTs are almost inseparable from crypto where the majority of NFT artworks like Bored Apes are minted on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. So, if people want to buy NFT’s, they need an ETH wallet. However, without legal access to ETH in China, companies like Alibaba and Tencent have created their own home-brewed blockchain technologies to trade NFTs.

In the past 2 months, Tencent has built an app to trade NFTs, Alibaba sold 50 NFT mooncakes to promote the trend, and a handful of startups are competing to be the winner of China’s local NFT trading market.

Avoiding financial risks - Still, no matter the crypto workarounds, NFT trading in China doesn’t feel the same way. Artworks are priced in RMB and transactions are paid with non-crypto methods like Alipay or Wechat Pay.

The reason for this discrepancy is that China wants to avoid financial risks. Cryptocurrencies are notorious for their volatile values, which makes speculation rampant; they also provide new ways for money to be laundered and for capital to leave China.


OpenSea fixes vulnerabilities that let hackers steal crypto with ‘gifted’ NFTs [The Verge]

Getting hacked - Researchers from Check Point Research have uncovered how critical vulnerabilities in OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, allowed crypto hackers to steal users’ entire crypto wallets.

Modus operandi - The attack relied on user inattention and the fact that the OpenSea app generates a lot of pop-ups. If a victim receives and views a malicious NFT sent by a hacker, it triggers a pop-up from OpenSea, requesting a connection to the victim's crypto wallet. Clicking on the popup would then give the hacker access to steal all their money.

Issues fixed - OpenSea says it’s working with third-party wallet providers to help people recognize malicious signature requests and are giving users the option to suspend their accounts if they think it’s been compromised.

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