As part of its ARTIFACT project, SCMP joined other media organizations around the world that see NFT as an integral part of the future of digital publishing.
South China Morning Post and Dapper Labs, creators of the popular non-fungible token series NBA Top Shot, will release several NFT cards commemorating the history of Hong Kong, with the first drop covering 1997 at the end of British colonial rule.
With a 118-year-old media archive, the Post is Hong Kong’s paper of record dating back to 1903. A copy of the full whitepaper on ARTIFACT, the news organisation’s NFT project based on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, was released on Tuesday.
More specifically, the company is looking to release in the coming months a series of NFT trading cards based on many iconic moments in Hong Kongâ€™s history. The inaugural drop of the 1997 Series will cover many historical moments in 1997, including theÂ July 1 ceremonyÂ commemorating Hong Kongâ€™sÂ handover to the ChineseÂ government, the passing ofÂ Deng Xiaoping on February 19Â that year and theÂ death of Princess Diana in August.
â€œWe are delighted to join the Flow ecosystem and partner with a major global blockchain innovator in Dapper Labs. This partnership is essential for creating world-class NFT experiences of our historical archives,â€ said the companyâ€™s CEO Gary Liu, â€œThrough our ARTIFACT whitepaper, we look forward to inspiring other â€˜guardians of historyâ€™ to share our vision of making history more discoverable, connected, and collectable.â€
Tuesdayâ€™s whitepaper also announced the establishment of a Council of Experts to guide the forming of the ARTIFACT standard, includingÂ Alibaba Group Holdingâ€™s co-founder Joe Tsai, President of Christieâ€™s Asia Pacific Francis Belin, Dapper Labsâ€™ co-founder Mikhael Naayem and Animoca Brandsâ€™ chairman Yat Siu. Alibaba is the sole owner of the SCMP, and Tsai is the chairman of the publisher.
TheÂ PostÂ first announced its ARTIFACT projectÂ in July, joining other media organizations around the world that see NFT as part of the future for the digital publishing industry. In June, CNN launched â€œVault by CNNâ€ to tokenise its history of news coverage. In August,Â FortuneÂ raised 429 ether, valued at about US$1.3 million at the time, in its first-ever NFT sale.
TheÂ Postâ€™s inaugural 1997 Series collectible cards will be divided into four rarity levels which correspond to the varying degrees of significance of the events these cards are based on.
The card based on theÂ Postâ€™s front-page coverage of the 1997 handover ceremony will be classified as â€œSuper Rare,â€ while another commemorating the outbreak of the bird flu will be of the â€œRareâ€ grade. Other events such as the arrest of Hong Kongâ€™s jockeys and horse racing trainers will be of the â€œCommonâ€ grade.
The 1997 Series is the first of many NFT collections that theÂ PostÂ plans to launch. The company looks to release NFT in the forms of both â€œBase Seriesâ€ and â€œThematic Dropâ€. The â€œBase Seriesâ€ will contain NFTs based on historical moments in a specific year but the â€œThematic Dropâ€ will cover events of a specific theme.
Excitement around NFTs first reached a fever pitch in March when the American artist Beeple auctioned a digital collage of hisÂ art at Christieâ€™s for US$69 million. That same month, Twitter founder Jack DorseyÂ sold his first tweet for over US$2.9 million.
In the ensuing months, Hong Kong emerged as a popular destination for both NFT launches as well as auctions amidÂ scepticism and warinessÂ among mainland Chinaâ€™sÂ financial regulators. Last month, some of the biggest names in Hong Kongâ€™s entertainment world â€“ including Wong Kar-wai,Â Gigi YimÂ and Hins Cheung â€“ unveiled respective NFT projects.
Wong, theÂ director best known for In the Mood for Love, sold an NFT based on behind-the-scenes footage from his masterpiece in October for HK$4.3 million (US$553,000) via a Sothebyâ€™s auction.Â Shawn Yue Man-lok, a Hong Kong movie star who starred in Infernal Affairs II, shocked the city in September when he sold his collections of 14 NFTs. They comprised popular art pieces such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club and fetched about HK$120 million at an auction organised by Christieâ€™s, marking a new Asia record.