SCMP Spinning Off NFT Business Into New Firm ‘Artifact Labs’

The newspaper has found a brisk business in selling NFTs of its historical front pages, clearing $127,000 in its last auction.

AccessTimeIconMar 16, 2022 at 6:06 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 16, 2022 at 2:38 p.m. UTC

Media organizations are always looking for new sources of revenue beyond selling ads against print copy. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) appears to have found one in selling non-fungible tokens (NFT) of its front pages from historical events, and has such confidence in the business that it is spinning it off into its own division called Artifact Labs.

  • The SCMP’s NFTs are front pages from historical events such as the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the Avian flu outbreak, the Asian Financial Crisis and the death of the U.K.'s Princess Diana.
  • Its NFT collection exists on Flow, a blockchain built by Dapper Labs, which also powers NBA’s Top Shot collection.
  • Buyers can bid on a specific NFT from a historical event, or buy a mystery box of front pages from selected events.
  • In its last auction, the newspaper sold over 1,000 NFTs and brought in approximately $127,000.
  • “SCMP’s creation of ‘Artifact Labs’ to explore the potential of blockchain applications for media is a transformational step for our 118-year old organization,” said SCMP Chairman Joe Tsai.
  • Tsai is also the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba (BABA).
  • SCMP will continue to be a shareholder in Artifact Labs and will seek third-party capital to help fund the company’s growth, according to a press release.
  • In late December, Tsai tweeted: “I like crypto,” hinting at the future expansion of his businesses into crypto. As mainland China-based Alibaba can’t get deeply involved in crypto, SCMP’s foray into NFTs is a logical step for his crypto expansion.

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