Jack Ma’s Ant Group Sells NFTs on Alipay, Clarifies They’re Different from Cryptocurrencies


China’s Ant Group, the Jack Ma-controlled fintech group, put non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on sale via its payment platform Alipay. The items sold out quickly on Wednesday amidst the ongoing crackdown from the authorities.

Based on the Dunhuang theme, about 16,000 NFTs were issued by AntChain, the Ant unit that develops blockchain-based technology solutions.

AntChain provided technical services for the issuance of digital works and their virtual certificates. The purchase requirement for each was ten Alipay points plus 9.9 RMB (~$1.53), and users need to purchase the NFTs through a mini-program on Alipay called Fensili.

According to Sino Global Capital, this launch had two key takeaways; first, it involved Alipay users directly using RMB to purchase NFTs, and second while NFTs, AntChain based digital assets are more like JPGs and not what we see in the crypto market.

Ant Group, which is undergoing a government-ordered revamp restructuring after the collapse of its mega-IPO last year, drew a distinction between NFTs and cryptocurrencies following the concerns on social media regarding whether they are even allowed to be involved in NFTs while China is cracking down on crypto trading and mining.

“NFT is not interchangeable, nor divisible, making it different by nature from cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin,” said a spokesperson at AntChain.

NFT digital artworks are also auctioned on Alibaba’s platform that can be accessed by the Alipay app. According to AntChain's product agreements, it provides blockchain technologies to NFT products. Sino Global Capital said,

“There has been much excitement about these NFTs in China with some people wondering, if the NFTs prove a hit, will the combination of Alipay's hundreds of millions of users, the convenience of its direct payments and integration with other Alipay products, make Alipay one of the world's largest “NFT” marketplaces in the future?”

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