Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have a wide and rapidly growing range of applications and have received extensive coverage recently.
Riding on the trend, a Hong Kong-based gifting platform, One Love Chain, aims to transform the way we make gifts and incorporate blockchain technology into our daily lives, company founder Anne Yeung said. Established in October last year, the start-up can help turn photo albums into NFTs and have them permanently digitally “minted” into its private chain. Users can also create their own NFT on the platform – a photo, drawing, handwritten letter or even a lip print.
Once minting is done, the NFT is sent to the recipient’s electronic wallet. Receivers can access these NFTs with a tap of the gift card on their smartphone. What’s more, cryptocurrencies are not required and senders can pay using a credit card or PayPal.
“An NFT can be anything, but people still think it’s just for expensive items. It could be a personalised Mother’s Day card, or a birthday card,” Ms Yeung said.
You describe One Love Chain as Asia’s first bespoke NFT gifting platform – what inspired you to set it up?
Last year, I proposed to my partner and minted the proposal message into the blockchain. I then had this idea of storing things related to weddings on the blockchain, something that could be backed up forever. It’s a company where love meets the blockchain.
What do NFTs mean to you?
It’s proof of sole ownership of virtual assets in the virtual world, and a guarantee that something is fully owned by us. Talking about buying crypto and purchasing virtual land in the metaverse seems very far away for most, and this is something I hope to challenge.
How can people use your platform?
Wedding guest books can be very bulky, so we encourage people to put it on the platform instead. We work with wedding photographers to create an NFT album for clients – we can put 20 favourite photos from their big day onto the blockchain, for example. You can even print an NFT token on clothing so recipients can scan it and see their message. We’ve also been talking to restaurants so they can gift an NFT card to VIPs. Our focus is to forge partnerships with different brands and I’m working with gift shops, florists, and jewellers to create something unique for users.
You can use credit cards or PayPal on the platform instead of cryptocurrencies. What prompted that decision?
Just to make it easier and more accessible. If anyone wants to get onto [virtual world] The Sandbox, for instance, they need to figure out how to buy different cryptocurrencies, which lowers the incentive. I want the NFT experience to be like buying food or clothes – more like using an e-commerce site. I think this will become the future trend and believe all blockchain start-ups should consider this to make their businesses more user-friendly.
What are the advantages of storing information on the blockchain?
The lack of centralisation. When I say it’s a way to store memories, some say, “why don’t I just put it on my iCloud?” But when servers go down, as Google and Facebook did recently, you see the disadvantage of centralisation. The things that we save on our computers and phones could all be gone one day, and hackers can also access that information.
What support and funding do you seek as a young business?
Right now, I’m applying for incubation programmes like the one at Cyberport and reaching out to individual investors. Next, we hope to reach out to venture capitalists. With more resources we can build our platform and build outside of the Hong Kong market. Now, we have a basic platform.
Say if you had 100 photos of your family and you wanted to mint them at once, like mass NFT generation – if we had more resources we could do this. Blockchain is all about building community, so we’d like to see more interaction across the platform, and even give the community voting rights and shareholder’s rights so they can get involved in future major decisions of One Love Chain.
What excites you most about NFTs?
In the Web 3.0 era, everyone will own their data. Social media companies have received criticism over data policies and there are now blockchain versions of social media, where users have the choice to sell their data. I think there will be a bubble on NFT investment markets, just like the dot.com bubble, but then after the bubble, we should all learn how NFTs can enhance businesses and our daily lives.
Can NFTs be used for good?
Yes – I want to do something to contribute to the community and am going to soft-launch another product, an NFT platform for good causes to help NGOs with NFT-based fundraising. The advantage of this is it will have very low operating costs, as they can use our platform to raise the funds.
One Love Chain