China NFT Weekly: Dating in the Metaverse

China NFT Weekly: Dating in the Metaverse

Digestible news on the latest Web3, NFTs, blockchain and metaverse developments in China and beyond, curated for you weekly by Pandaily.

This week: Metaverse dating app Soul looks to Hong Kong IPO, ByteDance continues metaverse investment with its acquisition of VR startup PoliQ, Chinese tech giants pledge to end NFT speculation and more.

Metaverse Dating App Soul Eyes Hong Kong IPO

TencentSocial media and dating app Soul is battling for an IPO in Hong Kong after abruptly withdrawing its plan to raise $185 million for listing on the Nasdaq last year. The Financial Times first reported this story.

  • Soulgate Inc., the operator of the Soul social networking app, filed Thursday for a public listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx), co-sponsoring Bank of America Merrill Lynch and CICC.
  • Soul’s owner, Soulgate, filed paperwork in Hong Kong on Thursday, revealing that the company had recorded a loss of 1.3 billion yuan ($194 million). The company posted sales of 1.28 billion yuan ($190 million) in 2021, an increase of 157% year-over-year. In addition, the gross profit margin reached 85%.
  • Soulgate is backed by tech giant Tencentwhich bought a 49.9% stake in the company as of 2020.
  • Founded in 2016 and built by a team from Shanghai, the app markets itself as an “algorithm-driven online social playground” that matches like-minded users called through a comprehensive personality and preference test.
  • Soul primarily earns money from selling virtual items and membership subscriptions. A research report from last year found that Soul users spent an average of 40 minutes a day on the app. It also joined TikTok and QQ to make it to the top 100 entertainment apps worldwide in both downloads and revenue. †Financial times

READ MORE: Tencent-backed social networking app Soul pulls US IPO plan

ByteDance Continues Metaverse Investments with Acquisition of VR Startup PoliQ

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has acquired Chinese virtual reality (VR) startup PoliQ as part of its plan to expand its portfolio across metaverse hardware, content, software and platforms. SCMP first reported this story.

  • ByteDance, headquartered in Beijing, last week bought PoliQ, operator of the once-popular virtual social platform Vyou, for “tens of millions of yuan,” according to China’s business register. Tianyancha.
  • PoliQ will now become part of Pico, a maker of VR headsets that was acquired by ByteDance in August of last year. PoliQ founder Ma Jiesi will now work as head of Pico’s social centers division, according to SCMP, citing Ma’s profile on Maimai, a social networking website for Chinese professionals.
  • Pico was the third largest manufacturer of virtual reality headsets in the world in the first quarter of 2021, growing 44.7% year-over-year, according to IDC.
  • ByteDance’s acquisition of Pico for nearly 5 billion yuan ($772 million) was the first major investment by a Chinese tech giant in the metaverse hardware sector.
  • The PoliQ acquisition comes as ByteDance has expanded its portfolio in the metaverse industry. Tech giants around the world are also doubling down on the industry, with Meta breaking into VR fitness with a $56.6 million acquisition of Within, maker of the VR workout app Supernatural. †SCMP

READ MORE: ByteDance has acquired Metaverse Social Startup PoliQ

Debt-laden cryptocurrency lender Babel Finance seeks restructuring specialist Houlihan Lokey

Babel Finance hires US investment banking firm Houlihan Lokey, a specialist in restructuring and distressed mergers and acquisitions, a few weeks after suspending withdrawals due to liquidity issues. CoinDesk and BlockWorks first reported this story.

  • The Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency lender froze withdrawals last month amid a cascade of defaults and liquidations involving over-leveraged companies including Three Arrows Capital and Celsius. Babel later said it had reached an agreement with counterparties on the repayment of some debts to facilitate short-term liquidity.
  • Babel Finance abruptly suspended withdrawals on June 17, citing “unusual liquidity pressures” — similar to competitors Celsius, Finblox and CoinFLEX. The company said in a statement last week that it wanted to fulfill its legal responsibilities to customers by “preventing the further transfer and spread of liquidity risk”.
  • In May, the company raised $80 million at a valuation of $2 billion. The top investors in the round were Jeneration Capital and 10T Holdings, as well as existing shareholders Dragonfly Capital and BAI Capital, according to BlockWorks.
  • The news also came amid a slew of layoffs and voluntary resignations from Babylon. Among those leaving in the near future are Yulong Liu, who served as head of partnerships at Babel for nearly three years, and communications director Jacynth Wang. †CoinDeskBlockworks

Chinese Tech Giants Promise to End NFT Speculation

Chinese tech giants including Tencent Holdings and Ant Group have signed an agreement to stop secondary trading of NFTs and “self-regulate” their activities in the market. Reuters and TechCrunch first reported this story.

EU Approves New Regulation To Tame Crypto “Wild West”

The European Commission, EU lawmakers and member states have reached an agreement on what will likely be the first major regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry. Reuters, CNBC and Cointelegraph first reported this story.

  • The landmark law, known as Markets in Crypto-Assets, or MiCA, is designed to impose stricter restrictions on a variety of crypto market players, including exchanges and issuers of stablecoins, tokens intended to be tied to existing assets. such as the US dollar.
  • Under the new law, stablecoins must maintain sufficient reserves to meet redemption requests in the event of massive withdrawals.
  • MiCA will also develop standards for crypto companies to disclose information about their environmental and climate footprints.
  • Globally, crypto assets are largely unregulated. National economic operators in the EU are only obliged to monitor and control money laundering transactions.
  • “Today we set order in the Wild West of crypto assets and clear rules for a harmonized market that will provide legal certainty to crypto asset issuers, ensure equal rights for service providers and high standards for consumers and investors,” said Stefan Berger. . , the legislator who led the negotiations on behalf of the European Parliament. (Reuters) CNBCcoin telegraph

Facebook starts testing new NFT features

Meta has begun rolling out an NFT feature on Facebook just a week after its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the plan. TechCrunch and The Block first reported this story.

  • The feature will initially be open to a select group of US-based creators, similar to how the company rolled out NFTs on Instagram a month ago.
  • While Zuckerberg said the test will allow creators to cross-post on Instagram and Facebook, the sharing feature hasn’t rolled out on either platform yet.
  • In his Facebook post announcing the move, Zuckerberg also mentioned that the company plans to deploy augmented reality (AR) NFTs and 3D NFTs using the company’s Spark AR software platform.
  • Meta has said there is no charge for posting or sharing a digital collectible, adding that it doesn’t offer the ability to turn digital collectibles into ads for now.
  • It is unclear when the new NFT feature will be available to all Facebook users. †TechCrunchThe block

That’s it for this week’s newsletter – thanks for reading! As always, we welcome any feedback on how we can improve this newsletter. Write to us [email protected]† See you again next week!

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