Blockchain gets religion: Taiwan temple mints NFTs of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu

December 30, 2022

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Earlier this year, Tainan’s Pufa Daoji Temple issued Taiwan’s first Taoist deity-themed non-fungible tokens (NFTs), “Jigong NFTs” (“濟公NFTs“), promoting them as bringing good fortune to purchasers. And now centuries-old Taiwan temple “Dajia Jenn Lann Temple” has stepped into NFTs, giving worshippers access to pilgrimages and other events.

Here’s what we know:

The Dajia Jenn Lann Temple in Taichung organizes an annual 300-kilometer nine-day pilgrimage with a statue of the Mazu deity and attracts hundreds of thousands of followers. The temple dates back to the Qing dynasty in the 1700s and minting and selling sea goddess non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that act as a priority pass for the pilgrimage that usually happens in the Spring.

The MazuDAO NFTs went on sale in August at NT$18,880 (US$615) on the temple’s e-commerce platform MazuBuyBuy, Opensea, and other marketplaces, minting more than 2,800 NFTs.

Mingkun Cheng, vice chairman of the board of the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple, said, “According to estimates, the nine-day pilgrimage can generate more than NT$5 billion (US$163 million) in spending. On the day when Mazu returned to the home temple, we saw about 500,000 people joining the pilgrimage.”

To this, Mao-Hsien Lin, an associate professor of the National Taichung University of Education’s Taiwanese languages and literature department, added that many traditional cultural activities are adapting to digital and technological innovation.

The temple’s annual pilgrimages have attracted an increasing number of younger people. Many post videos of the festival and the pilgrimage on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. Some online vendors are now authorized to use its Mazu intellectual property to make merchandise for sale on its e-commerce platform MazuBuyBuy.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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