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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Titanic exhibitor to mint ship relics as NFTs from Hong Kong’s Artifact Labs

Titanic exhibitor to mint ship relics as NFTs from Hong Kong’s Artifact Labs

RMS Titanic Inc, Artifact Labs and Venture Smart Financial Holdings are bringing the ill-fated ship’s ‘physical artefacts into Web3’ with a new NFT project.
RMS Titanic Inc, the company behind exhibitions for the sunken ship, is turning relics from the ill-fated 1912 voyage into Web3 assets through a partnership with non-fungible token (NFT) company Artifact Labs and Venture Smart Financial Holdings, a Hong Kong asset management firm.

The project aims to “bring the RMS Titanic and its physical artefacts into Web3” and to “place the legacy of the Titanic in the hands of the global public”, the companies announced in a statement on Tuesday. Artifact Labs plans to turn 5,500 physical artefacts recovered from the ship into NFTs, along with artefacts that may be recovered in the future.

The statement offered few other details about the project other than to note that Artifact Labs will also launch the Titanic DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation), through which members can participate in future initiatives. The NFT firm, which was started by the South China Morning Post and in which the newspaper still has an ownership stake, said it is not making other information public at this time, such as pricing or which blockchain it will use.

The partnership between RMS Titanic, owned by Atlanta, Georgia-based Premier Exhibitions, and two Hong Kong companies comes as the southern Chinese city vies to become a regional virtual asset hub with new regulations aiming to lure back crypto-related business that had left over the past few years.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said on Monday that retail investors in the city will be allowed to buy virtual assets with large market capitalisations, such as bitcoin and ether, on licensed platforms. The new rules go into effect in June.

Hong Kong’s bid to be a bigger player in Web3 involves new regulations covering a range of virtual asset types, not just cryptocurrencies, although that is what is typically used to purchase NFTs. It has also been a focus of regulators in the city since the collapse last year of FTX, once the world’s second-largest crypto exchange.

The collaboration also comes about two years after hype around NFTs first kicked off, sending prices and speculation soaring. NFT mania had largely cooled by last summer, as prices fell amid a crypto market rout. NFT trading volume, denominated in US dollars, dropped 77 per cent from the second to third quarter last year, while prices also plunged 76 per cent, according to market tracker NonFungible.com.

Some of the most high-profile projects still maintain high valuations, though. Bored Ape Yacht Club has a market capitalisation of US$1.3 billion, the largest among all NFT projects, according to CoinGecko.

NFTs have thus remained a popular way of gaining attention for art and other projects, or just as a way of securing ownership rights to digital assets.

In the case of Titanic artefacts, the companies putting them on the blockchain say the NFTs will allow people to interact with relics outside physical exhibitions. They are also planning initiatives that cover dive exhibitions, educational programming, documentaries and other events that will involve the Titanic DAO, which will be funded by the NFT sales.

“This incredible project will forever preserve the ocean liner on the blockchain and further expand its impact and importance to a global audience,” said Gary Liu, founder of Artifact Labs and former CEO of the Post. “This partnership exemplifies the mission of Artifact Labs and we are delighted to now be among the Titanic’s guardians.”

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