Huobi Group, the company operating one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is launching its own nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace, following in the steps of other major crypto exchanges.
Huobi has rolled out a trial for Huobi NFT, an NFT marketplace allowing users to buy and trade NFT artwork and collectibles in numerous sectors, such as games, art, animation and music, Huobi Group announced on Monday.
According to the announcement, the launch marks a milestone in the extension of Huobi’s metaverse strategy, a concept combining multiple technologies such as virtual reality to bring a 3D virtual environment featuring activities like online gaming and others.
As part of the strategy, Huobi in September launched a $10-million fund to invest in early-stage projects involved in GameFi, a mix of gaming-focused NFTs and decentralized finance. The NFT marketplace will also play a big role in the company’s global expansion strategy as it adds a new asset class to its portfolio of blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused products.
“Huobi has been working on projects in the GameFi and NFT markets, so the launch of the Huobi NFT marketplace has been in the works for some time. We look forward to introducing this project to our global community,” Huobi Group director of strategy Jeff Mei noted.
A spokesperson for Huobi Group told Cointelegraph that Huobi’s NFT platform is being trialed on Huobi's decentralized public chain, the Huobi Eco Chain, also known as Heco. The NFT platform is not integrated with the exchange's native cryptocurrency, Huobi token.
As Heco is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the platform could potentially be integrated with other NFT platforms that run on the Ethereum blockchain. The firm doesn't have any specific plans on this yet, a spokesperson added.
The news comes shortly after social media giant Facebook officially changed its company name to Meta, marking its first major rebrand and increasing ambitions beyond social media. Apart from broad plans for its metaverse, Facebook has also been struggling to launch its own cryptocurrency, now named Diem.
In trialing the NFT marketplace, Huobi joins a growing race of global crypto exchanges introducing NFT platforms. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the United States, announced plans to launch its own NFT platform in mid-October. Crypto exchange FTX previously introduced its NFT marketplace for U.S. customers in September.
Binance became one of the world’s first crypto exchanges to launch an NFT marketplace, debuting such a platform in June 2021.