Chinese video site Bilibili follows Alibaba and Tencent in issuing NFTs as ‘digital collectibles’

·2-min read

Video platform Bilibili is the latest Chinese tech firm to jump on the non-fungible token (NFT) bandwagon, launching its own set of digital collectibles, following in the footsteps of Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings.

Bilibili has been accepting sign-ups through Friday this week for a lucky draw to win one of 2,233 profile pictures featuring a cartoon pigeon, each with a unique design and code stored on the company’s own blockchain network, UPowerchain.

The draw is open to Bilibili users aged 14 and above who are level-6 users, the highest engagement level on the platform. They must also have been active on the site on a daily basis throughout 2021.

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The winners will be able to make and sell physical products based on their pigeon image, and create digital works for non-commercial purposes. The company added that it would soon roll out a feature allowing NFT holders to transfer the digital asset to other people for free.

“We do not encourage any form of hype on digital art avatars,” Bilibili said.

In China, NFTs are branded as “digital collectibles” to avoid regulatory scrutiny, and the assets cannot involve cryptocurrency.

Bilibili did not explain why it chose a pigeon for the NFT series, but the term “release the pigeon” is often seen in user comments on the site when a Bilibili creator is tardy about posting new videos. The term is also a Chinese idiom for failing to keep a date, or standing someone up.

NFTs, digital assets built on the blockchain to make it unique and tamper-resistant, are attracting the attention of an increasing number of Chinese companies, but they have been careful not to link them to cryptocurrencies, which are the most popular form of exchange for NFTs overseas.

Bilibili’s NFT pigeon collection, titled Dovthe, features a unique design and code for each. Photo: Handout
Bilibili’s NFT pigeon collection, titled Dovthe, features a unique design and code for each. Photo: Handout

Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Post owner Alibaba, and social media and gaming giant Tencent, were the first tech giants to embrace NFTs, launching dozens of products since last summer. JD.com and Baidu followed with their own digital collectibles.

Even state-run Xinhua News Agency has jumped on the bandwagon. On Christmas Eve, it gave away more than 100,000 digital collectibles, featuring news photos from “historical moments in 2021”.

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