Economy - April 21, 2022 | 05:22 pm PT

NFTs beginning to find takers in Vietnam

Vietnamese artists have begun to enter the world of non-fungible tokens, sparking high expectations of a booming new investment platform in a country pushing for digital transformation.

Song writer Nguyen Van Chung earlier this month announced his intention to issue non-fungible tokens, becoming one of the first artists to do so.

The NFT of artist Nguyen Van Chung is seen on a smartphone. Photo by VnExpress/Dat Nguyen

He offered to sell a share of profits from his YouTube channel, which has 200,000 followers, a process he calls "equitization" of the channel.

The channel has 700 music videos.

Rapper Binz last month launched a collection of non-fungible tokens for a percentage of royalties from his new song ‘Don’t Break My Heart,’ which has 8.6 million views on YouTube.

He offers investors 0.05 percent royalty on these tokens, which are priced at US$69-108,000.

Model Vinh Thuy announced earlier this week he plans to join the NFT market with his ‘1988Dragon’ collection. Details of the collection are yet to be released.

An illustration of Vinh Thuy NFT. Photo courtesy of model Vinh Thuy

The announcements come after Vietnam made headlines globally with Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based play-to-earn NFT game in which people can earn cryptocurrency by selling characters and items.

NFT is a non-interchangeable unit that represents objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos.

By using blockchain technology, NFT ensures that only one person can own an asset at any given time.

Truong Gia Bao, chairman of business consultancy Digital Transformation for SMEs, said NFTs are emerging in Vietnam as representatives of both physical and digital assets.

There are property NFTs in which investors could buy a small piece that is part of a bigger project, he said.

Other sectors have also started to show interests in NFTs.

Than Thuc Quyen, CEO of Sanova Hotel, said the company plans to partner with a South Korean firm to develop NFTs for hotel services.

"This is just an idea for now and we have not deployed it yet as this [technology] is still new in the tourism-services industry".

In February companies like Crystal Bay and Beowulf Blockchain launched a platform for tourism NFTs on which customers can trade bookings with each other.

Vietnam is among the top five countries globally in terms of NFT ownership, U.S.-based price-comparing platform Finder reported last November.

Around 17.4 percent of Vietnamese Internet users own NFTs as against the global rate of 11.7 percent, it said.

Around 68 percent of Vietnamese believe NFT prices would continue to rise, the highest rate in the six Southeast Asian countries surveyed in November by Statista and Milieu.

Nguyen Trung Anh, founder of cryptocurrency game platform MetaHub, said investors in NFTs believe their value would continue to rise due to their exclusivity.

Some companies are trying to develop key opinion leaders on social media and auction the NFTs of those people, he said.

"They can appear in metaverse later, and therefore I think the prices are appropriate".

But there are hurdles such as "trash" NFTs, which represent copyrighted assets, the equivalent of counterfeit goods in the real world, he said.

It is therefore better to bet on NFTs of talented artists.

Another challenge is the lack of a legal framework for this new technology.

Trinh Xuan An, deputy chairman of the Young Lawmakers Group, said, "We need to create awareness of a legal framework for blockchain to manage and develop it".

Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai last month instructed ministries to look into building a legal framework for digital assets.

The State Bank of Vietnam earlier this month also included blockchain technology in a proposed decree for regulating fintech in banking.

"This draft decree has blockchain, but is only for the banking sector," Dao Tien Phong, managing lawyer of Investpush Legal, said.

"It should be expanded to other sectors".

Vien Thong