<SUNBIGHT>~Cryptocurrency~Orie~27th February,2022 @ 19:10 WAT
UCOLLEX, a Hong Kong-based NFT platform, has pulled $10 million fresh capital from local blockchain game developer Animoca Brands.
The startup’s latest funding round comes as sales of the digital collectibles are gaining ground in the city, which has seen an increasing number of projects launched over the past year.
Another investor who also participated in the fundraising is MCP IPX One Fund, an investment fund established by the Japanese branch of MCP Asset Management and Animoca, according to a statement issued on Thursday.
Ucollex said the financing round values the company at $110 million. The new capital will be used to strengthen its team and its platform with the aim of delivering an experience that combines digital collectibles and entertainment through features such as virtual artwork battles, cofounder and CEO Robert Tran said in a written response.
“We believe there is still a lot to do to turn collectors from being passive supporters to becoming an integral and active part of the development process,” Tran added. “As long as more creators are emerging and content is growing at the pace that we have experienced in the last few years, there will be tremendous growth for Ucollex.”
NFTs—short for non-fungible tokens—are crypto assets that record the ownership of a digital item such as a piece of artwork, a photo or a video. Anyone can create, or “mint,” NFTs, by uploading their digital files to a blockchain that acts as a public ledger.
Established in 2020 by Robert Tran and Raymond Hung, Ucollex is a marketplace that sells NFTs featuring toys and pop culture collectibles. Prior to the crypto business, Tran cofounded local watch brand Undone and iClick Interactive Asia, a marketing technology company listed on the Nasdaq. While Hung’s career includes a stint serving as the CTO of Undone as well as working at Microsoft Hong Kong for more than a decade.
Last year, Ucollex teamed up with world’s largest crypto exchange Binance and British luxury fashion brand Jimmy Choo to launch a NFT collection. (Disclosure: Binance recently announced a strategic investment in Forbes.)
Yat Siu, cofounder and chairman of Animoca, said he believes his company’s latest investment in Ucollex will make it easier for intellectual properties to participate in the metaverse, according to the statement.
Ucollex’s funding round underscores the increasing popularity of NFTs in Hong Kong, which has seen an increasing number of new projects emerged over the past year.
Among the successful launches are Shrooms, an NFT collection featuring three-dimensional mushroom avatars with Asian elements such as mahjong and red banners. The project said on its Twitter that all of its 3,888 NFTs were sold out within two minutes after its public launch in January.
But as the emerging market for NFTs has grown, so too have reports of scams. Monkey Kingdom, a Hong Kong NFT project that has more than 23,000 followers on Twitter, said it became the unwitting victim of theft in December.
Buyers of the NFTs lost 7,000 Solana tokens, which translates to about $1.3 million at the time, after a hacker infiltrated the project’s group chat and posted a phishing link, which was used to steal personal data and gain access to their accounts. Monkey Kingdom said it had launched a fund to compensate the victims for some of their losses.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Asia~Nkwo~25th February,2022 @ 00:33 WAT
ON Wednesday (February 23), two Chinese military jets flew into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), marking the 12th intrusion this month.
According to the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense, two People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter jets flew into the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ (MND).
Taiwan responded by sending planes, issuing radio warnings, and deploying air defence missile systems to keep an eye on PLAAF planes.
An ADIZ is a zone that extends beyond a country’s airspace where approaching aircraft are asked to identify themselves by air traffic controllers.
So far this month, China has dispatched a total of 40 military aircraft into Taiwan’s identification zone, including 22 fighter jets, 17 spotter planes, and one helicopter.
Over the previous two years, Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained of regular such operations by the Chinese air force, despite the fact that the planes never approach Taiwan.
Taiwanese fighter jets were dispatched to warn Chinese planes, and air defence missiles were deployed to “watch the actions,” according to the ministry, which used conventional language to describe Taiwan’s response.
Taiwan has been following the Ukraine situation with bated breath, fearful that China could seize the opportunity to invade the island.
Despite the fact that no extraordinary moves by the Chinese military have been detected by Taipei, the administration has raised its alert level.
China has never renounced the use of force to annex Taiwan, and it often opposes US weaponry sales and other displays of support.■