This year’s Taobao Maker Festival — an annual event celebrating Chinese art and entrepreneurship hosted by the Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Taobao — will showcase nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for the first time.
This year’s event will see decentralized application platform Near Protocol team up with blockchain gaming firm Web3Games and Chinese artist Huang Heshan to sell NFT-based real estate created by Huang.
Heshan’s virtual “Bu Tu Garden” will be available for purchase during the event, with the garden comprising more than 1,000 virtual structures, including ten “luxury single-family villas,” 300 high-end units, and 1,000 “umbrella” parasols.
Bu Tu Garden forms part of Heshan’s first NFT collection, “Toorich City Series” — which is built around a fictional real-estate tycoon, Mr. Toorich, who is dedicated to building up-market housing for the economically disadvantaged.
The Bu Tu Garden NFTs can be purchased using Chinese renminbi via Taobao’s website. The tokens must be claimed with a Near wallet.
The Taobao Maker Festival was first held in 2016, with this year’s event taking place in Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center from July 17 through July 25.
Speaking to Blockcast, Heshan recounted his surprised with the ease of working with nonfungible tokens, stating: "I originally thought that the concepts of blockchain and NFT would be very complicated.”
The self-described “socialist cyberpunk” also emphasized the reduced costs of minting NFTs on Near when compared to Ethereum, stating: “The cost of casting an NFT on Ethereum is hundreds or thousands of dollars too expensive. NEAR only costs a few cents and is very suitable.”
While Heshan’s digital real estate NFTs are purely artistic works, crypto-powered virtual real estate has seen significant growth over roughly the past year, with a digital land plot within blockchain game Decentraland selling for more than $900,000 last month.
Last week, Cointelegraph reported that Illuvium co-founder Kieran Warwick had flipped a virtual land plot he purchased last year in Axie Infinity for a profit of more than 9,000%.