Artifact Labs, a Hong Kong-based company specializing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has announced plans for numerous international partnerships with museums and cultural establishments following a successful seed funding round that raised US$3.25 million. True to its name, the company digitizes artifacts, securing them on the blockchain.
According to Artifact Labs’ CEO, Phillip Pon, the primary goal of the seed funding is to facilitate the growth and expansion of the company, including investment in their technology and recruitment of top-tier talent to propel business development. Blue Pool Capital, a wealth management firm owned by Alibaba Group Holding’s co-founder Joe Tsai, led the fundraising round, with participation from Animoca Ventures, the investment wing of Animoca Brands, a leading Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming company.
Artifact Labs originated from South China Morning Post in March 2022, following the paper’s first NFT collection release that generated US$260,000 in revenue. The newspaper still holds a stake in the venture. Artifact Labs has previously collaborated with RMS Titanic Inc and other partners such as G.O.D., a Hong Kong lifestyle brand, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pon stated that the company aims to introduce historical and cultural intellectual properties to Web3, making them accessible to new audiences. NFTs offer a novel fundraising source for cultural institutions and museums, and a platform to reach wider audiences that may not engage with traditional artwork.
Artifact Labs intends to use its new funding to support upcoming partnerships and the acquisition of source code from Refinable, a local NFT infrastructure provider. The source code will allow the company to expedite its product development and mint NFTs on various chains, including Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Smart Chain.
Despite its global plans, Artifact Labs will keep its headquarters in Hong Kong, in line with the city’s ambition to become a hub for virtual assets. Hong Kong’s new licensing regulations, which will allow retail investors to buy major virtual assets like bitcoin and ether, have attracted new cryptocurrency-related businesses and investments in recent months.
While Artifact CEO Pon acknowledges that the initial frenzy around NFTs has significantly subsided, with the global NFT market down over 89 percent since 2022, he anticipates a shift towards corporate collaborations and customer activation projects that will contribute to broader NFT adoption.