For Immediate Release
HONG KONG, Jan. 11, 2022 – Co-organized by China Daily and the Asian Financial Forum, a panel discussion session themed “Innovation Investment in NFT – Trends and Opportunities” was held virtually today. The session attracted about 280 investment project owners, private equity firms, collectors, and investors to join online.
In recent years, non-fungible tokens have continued to gain popularity in different segments including collectibles, art, sports, and gaming. According to Statista, there was a 10-fold increase in the NFT market between 2018 and 2020. Brandessence Market research reported a growth of 328 percent in NFT transactions during the first three quarters of 2021. Over £50 million ($67.94 million) of Beeple’s NFT digital art was sold at Christie’s. NFT-related sales in the art segment in 2021 accounted for $1.9 billion, while the total number of NFT sales in collectibles, sports, and art in the first six months of 2021 were $367,129; $299,684; and $124,188 respectively.
What are the evolving market trends and business opportunities in NFTs? How do NFTs create value for businesses? What will be the future development of NFTs?
Moderated by Mr. Azam Khan, Anchor, Multimedia Program, China Daily Hong Kong, the panelists included Mr. Francis Belin, President, Christie’s Asia Pacific, Mr. Les Borsai, Chief Strategy Officer, Wave Financial and Mr. Warren Cheng, Director, Fine Art Asia and Wui Po Kok.
Mr. Francis Belin thinks that what NFT is bringing to digital art was the easiest thing on earth to copy, and technology needed to be transacted in a flawless way. “So we talked about scans, we talked about some of the risks that are associated with NFTs, but first and foremost, we finally can transact safely and can transact digital artists’ 50 years of digital art creation,” he said.
He said that NFT in the art space is definitely here to stay. The reason we see its explosion in that category is because technology is here. He said that we have ideas of creativity, and art that has been created not only for design drawings, but also music, video, and the range of creativity that digital as a medium can bring. The reservoir of creativity that the digital space is bringing to the world can find its platform, its ways and its means to be transacted.
“What people do not or often fail to realize is that these very antiques existed in that time. For me, it is really exciting to be able to bridge those worlds. And NFT being a fundamental part of the Metaverse kind of realm. That’s something that I’m hoping to explore in the future.” said Mr. Francis Belin.
He said that sentiment is what’s been sustaining the type of NFT hype, while the underlying currency is dropping. But going forward, it will not be like that. It will be the utility of NFTs that you can use in Metaverse or in real life, and that will be what’s been sustaining the price level of setting NFTs.
Mr. Francis Belin indicated that NFTs are scary for the traditional players in the art world because there’s so much information out there. They don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. They don’t know how to avoid being scammed. They stay on the sides and then watch the industry evolve to become something they don’t know. “But if we just have an open heart, which looks deep into things that we understand, like what Francis said about utility, at the end of the day, everything comes down to utility, even currency, even money comes down to what utility you can get out of it, ” he said.
He said, “I think at the end of the day, us being humans, we look back at what we can get from NFT from all sorts of transactions, we can see if that makes sense to us. If it does, I think it’s important for us to get to know this new tool, and jump on it and see where it can take us. ”
Mr. Les Borsai said,“ It’s a really great time to be able to create and have that kind of imagination, and I don’t see anything slowing down NFT. Everyone is trying to find their place in the NFT world in areas like sports, music and film, and even traditional art galleries and museums are trying to figure out how NFT fits into their agendas. It’s really interesting to see these worlds collide because it’s really a very different initiative. It’s a generational income revolution, a concern and an innovation.”
He indicated that we are going to see more and more kinds of real-life experiences, also merging spaces, and that’s what makes NFT so exciting because this new technology can be so many things to so many different people. “You can have centralized versions that are collectibles and sports cards. and also decentralized versions. You just have this huge implosion and conversion of the imagination, and it’s going to be like a really great time to be able to create and find it yourself to see how it impacts a lot of old businesses,” he said.
Mr. Warren Cheng thinks that the reactions of the traditional players in galleries and art fairs are quite slow and a bit hesitant and resistant to the trend of NFTs.
He said that the main obvious obstacle is the use of cryptocurrency. It is quite hard for traditional players to open their wallet to get the cryptocurrency. When they do receive, how can they convert that into fiat (money) and back into the bank account? “That’s always the question I have been asked. I think their resistance to that at core level comes down to, they don’t know where they stand in the whole value chain, and now NFTs are here,” he said.
“If artists or creators can mint NFTs in the blockchains so easily, and the marketplace is so user-friendly, where in the value chain do art fairs or galleries stand? What is their value-add? As a director of the art fair and owner of the gallery myself, I ask that question to my team every day, and I believe our value-add lies in the role we can play, and that is a place where collaboration can happen,” he said.
About China Daily
Founded in 1981, China Daily covers 360 million readers and users worldwide through diversified platforms, including newspapers, websites, mobile devices, and social media. The number of China Daily’s followers has now reached 61.7 million on Weibo, 13 million on the WeChat blog platform, 104.2 million on Facebook, and 4.3 million on Twitter.
About the China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable
The China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable is a by-invitation network of movers and shakers in Asia, providing platforms for focused dialogue, issue investigation and possible collective action on strategic issues relating to Asia’s economic, business, and social development. Our aim is to enhance communication and increase mutual understanding among China, Asian countries, and Western countries. Roundtable events are held in major cities across Asia.