Digital mutant orchids go on sale at cryptocurrency marketplace

Vietnam’s so-called mutant orchids are being turned into unique digital assets and being sold for up to thousands of dollars online.

Digital mutant orchids go on sale at cryptocurrency marketplace
A digital version of an orchid plant is sold online. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.

On the digital goods marketplace, hundreds of items are displayed when a user types the keyword "Orchidaceae."

These items are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are units of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain that certifies a digital asset to be unique.

In other words, NFTs transform digital works of art and other collectibles into one-of-a-kind, verifiable assets that are easy to trade on the blockchain, and a person can now buy a digital orchid plant using cryptocurrency like Ethereum.

"The Hong My Nhan has glossy wings, harmonious pink color. Usually the sepals are a bit darker than the wings," says the description of a piece of the orchid that costs $428.

These products are not real orchids. Instead the buyer will own a digital version of the plant which is guaranteed to be sold in limited number.

The mutant orchid plant in the foreground, cultivated in north Hoa Binh Province, has a price tag of VND400 million ($17,477). Photo by VnExprres/Tat Dinh.

"Although the buyer won’t own the physical plant, he or she can still show off the orchid without having to take care of it," said digital currency expert Phan Duc Nhat.

A Phu Tho orchid with an asking price of around $100 will have a maximum of 2,000 NFTs, while the more luxurious Co Do orchid with the asking price of $12,500 will only have 100 NFTs.

But so far the highest bid for such an NFT is only 0.2 Etherum, or more than $400.

The rush for the so-called mutant orchids has flooded social media in Vietnam in recent months, with investors spending hundreds of million dong (VND100 million = $4,340) to own a physical plant, hoping to sell it for a profit later.


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