In Indonesia, a group of people rely on the “grip” NFT game “to support their families”

Although the argument that NFT will start a global revolution is a bit overstated. But it has certainly changed the lives of some Southeast Asians ……

In March, Beeple’s work fetched $69.3 million at a Christie’s crypto-art auction, and NFT became famous. While skeptics see it as nothing more than following the hype with the help of blockchain technology, proponents believe NFT could change the financial and art worlds.

While the argument that NFT will start a global revolution is somewhat overstated. But it has certainly changed the lives of some Southeast Asians, ranging from ordinary workers who sell their physical strength and time for income to newcomers to the art world who use NFT to earn extra income.

Gilbert Jalova, a 40-year-old Filipino man, is one of them. He is not only the father of three children, but also the husband of an asthma patient. For this reason, Jalova, an ordinary employee, often needs to work odd jobs to increase his income. Until one day, a friend introduced him to an NFT game.

As we all know, NFT is a digital asset that can be traded with the help of blockchain technology to certify its uniqueness. In the NFT game, players’ assets (such as characters, props) will exist in the form of NFT. Players can also sell these NFTs to others in exchange for other assets. In the game, upgrades give players in-game tokens, a process that can be interpreted as mining.

Gilbert Jalova spends at least two hours a day on the game, mining a type of token called a “small ecstasy” and selling it later. According to him, this process earns him $550 a month. That’s much more than he makes at his job, and nearly twice the average salary in the Philippines ($300). Gilbert Jalova says it has helped the family tremendously and has been a bonding agent for family ties.

Gabby Dizon was originally a game developer in the Philippines, but now he has a more critical title: founder of the Revenue Game Alliance. It’s an organization that helps ordinary people earn extra money on the NFT gaming platform. Pressured by unemployment and hyper-inflation, a large number of people at the bottom choose to use revenue-based NFT games, which even become a way for them to increase their income or re-employment. According to statistics, 80% of the total number of players are forced to make a living to this point. Ironically, Gabby Dizon believes that this is the reason why NFT is going hot in emerging economies like Southeast Asia.

This trend is becoming more evident in other Southeast Asian countries as well. Data from Digital Entertainment Asset, a Singapore-based NFT gaming platform, shows that 45 percent of its 1 million registered users are from Indonesia. That’s because the company has developed game tokens that can be easily exchanged for the country’s fiat currency on exchanges such as Indodax.

A 20-year-old college student from the Indonesian port city of Pekanbaru, Riky Candra, says he has earned close to $700 on Digital Entertainment Asset over the course of the year. With this money, he has enough to cover his daily expenses on campus and he will set aside some for future savings.

Naohito Yoshida, CEO of Digital Entertainment Asset, said that other players often use the token income from the game to pay for rent and internet, or to fix three meals a day. Some even claim that he can buy a rice paddy with it.

Trung Nguyen, owner of NFT game Axie Infinity and founder of Sky Mavis, said NFT is a way to represent rare species in nature, so it can match well with game characters and game assets toward.

As the world begins to focus on Beeple selling its NFT art, Southeast Asian artists have not been absent from the frenzy. From Thai rappers to Singaporean street performers, everyone seems to be selling their NFT artwork in packages. One of the better known is an Indonesian Balinese artist named Monez and his NFT artwork Ida Bagus Ratu Antoni Putra (possibly an image of a deity or monster from local lore).

In Indonesia, a group of people rely on the "grip" NFT game "to support their families"

NFT image by Monez – “Circus Clown”

Back in March, his first NFT piece “Circus Clown” was sold for 0.8 ETH at a market price of around $1200. This was almost simultaneously with Beeple’s NFT auction. While this is a pittance compared to the $69 million that Singaporean investor Vignesh Sundaresan threw at Beeple’s creation, Monez himself insists that NFT can generate long-term revenue. The value of the NFT, he says, is not only to ensure the authenticity and uniqueness of the artists’ work, but also to earn them a steady stream of royalties through resale.

In Indonesia, a group of people rely on the "grip" NFT game "to support their families"

Vignesh Sundaresan shows his investment in NFT works on his computer screen

“In the real world, people only buy first-hand paintings from painters at a fairly cheap price, and then pass them on for double or even several times the price, but the original writer himself remains poor because he only earns the income from the first transaction. In the art world, the extreme distortion of the income distribution pattern has deteriorated the ecosystem of the industry, directly causing the creators to struggle”, Monez admits. He himself already receives a 10 percent cut from the resale of his work through NFT.

But despite the benefits for artists like Monez, the NFT is still a speculative marketplace.

Naohito Yoshida says that liquidity in the NFT market can be a potential risk. If users are buying NFT for the purpose of simply collecting, there is nothing wrong with that. But if it’s for investment purposes, then the lower market liquidity could be troubling, meaning creators don’t sell NFTs as well as they’d like.

There are already signs that the liquidity in the market has dried up and that the NFT bubble is bursting. According to the NFT data search site, some NFTs were sold for $101 million on May 3, but that figure was quickly dropped to $2 million by the end of the month.

Poltak Hotradero, commercial manager of the Indonesia Stock Exchange, said: “It will take a difficult time for NFT to gain enough recognition in the mainstream community in the Asian social environment. For the younger generation, who are the natives of the Internet, it may be much easier. It’s worth noting that in Asia, the older generation holds the lion’s share of purchasing power, which will determine the value of NFT.

Considering his family’s livelihood, Gilbert Jalova does not want NFT to be a mere flash in the Internet world. He said he will continue to earn revenue on NFT games, while not ruling out the possibility of quitting his full-time job and playing NFT games with one eye on it.

In Indonesia, a group of people rely on the "grip" NFT game "to support their families"

NFT works created by South African artists – “TimeKeeper”

When we turn our attention to South Africa, which is in a similar economic situation as Southeast Asia, the first NFT auction was held in mid-March this year. The NFT works for sale were the “TimeKeeper” series created by South African painter Norman O’Flynn. Then in April, South Africa became a hotbed of NFT, and its localized NFT platform Momint was born. At the end of April, a well-known South African rugby player sold his NFT for R150,000 (about $11,000) during the Momint beta period, and the NFT turnover on the Momint platform reached R300,000 (about $22,000) during the beta period.

To sum up, the economy is relatively backward countries, stagnation is serious, so that its common people in the situation of making money without a door, forced to choose the NFT game, with which the related NFT art transactions also began to rise. Only NFT game play is more grounded, because players can get tokens without any input, which is similar to the “wool” play that once made domestic users happy. But the sustainability of this business model is in doubt, and the risks are unpredictable.

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