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Bollywood stars, Indian celebrities launch NFTs amid global craze

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October 24, 2021

By Nupur Anand and Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian celebrities from the world of Bollywood and cricket are increasingly launching digital memorabilia through non-fungible tokens (NFT), hoping to rake in thousands of dollars by cashing in on growing interest in such assets.

NFTs are a type of digital asset which use blockchain to record the ownership of items such as images, videos and other collectibles. Their roaring popularity has baffled many but the explosive growth shows no sign of abating.

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Bollywood superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan https://www.beyondlife.club and Salman Khan https://www.bollycoin.com are planning to launch NFTs soon. While Bachchan’s NFTs will include autographed posters of his movies, Khan has been building excitement on his Twitter account by telling his 43 million followers about the planned NFT launch.

“NFTs are right now alien to Bollywood but I am sure they (film stars) will see this as another platform where they can use their existing content and generate revenue,” said Ayaan Agnihotri of Bollycoin, an NFT marketplace for Bollywood assets.

Agnihotri said that within days of launch this month, his platform sold 8 million of the 20 million available so-called “BollyCoins”, crypto tokens that can be used to buy NFTs when they are launched. One BollyCoin is worth 10 U.S. cents.

But its still early days for celebrity NFTs in India.

Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik is auctioning a digital art reel https://bit.ly/3m28fNc from a cricket match where he hit a match-winning six on the last ball for around 5 ethereums, a digital currency, worth around $20,000. But he has yet to receive any bids.

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“NFT has picked up a lot in the West in the last one year with now iconic moments from basketball being bought by fans digitally, which gave us the idea,” Karthik told Reuters.

Others have had success. One of India’s top fashion designers, Manish Malhotra, recently sold NFTs of digital sketches of some of his most famous creations for $4,000 a piece. Malhotra’s website shows one can purchase some of his bridal wear outfits at a lower price range of $2,500-$3,500.

The rise of NFTs has baffled many who say it makes little sense to spend large sums of money on items that don’t physically exist and can simply be viewed online.

Still, global sales volumes of NFTs have galloped to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, making an eightfold increase from the previous quarter, data from market tracker DappRadar showed..

Vishakha Singh, vice president for NFTs at Indian crypto exchange WazirX, said celebrity participation in the segment is set to create excitement in the space.

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This, she said, “is great for the ecosystem. This will help us in garnering more awareness towards this new game changing world of digital assets,” Singh said.

(Reporting by Nupur Anand and Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Kim Coghill)

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Business

Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

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November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

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(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

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November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

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In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

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Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

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November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

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“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

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The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

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