Games have been at the forefront of entertainment for all ages and have never been more accessible.

The two most popular games on our kids’ minds are Minecraft and Roblox. By the age of 7, many of our Students will have heard about these games through their friends or YouTube channels. As a result, many parents have approached Coding Lab, inquiring about the presence of either a Minecraft or Roblox curriculum where the students can be guided into their foray into online games and at the same time, learn programming.

We sat down with our Educator and Assistant Curriculum Team Lead, Hovan Tan, to ask him his thoughts on what platforms are suitable for our children, and how we came to the decision to develop and launch our special Minecraft Code Your World curriculum, instead of other platforms. Let’s hear from Teacher Hovan! 👏

We sought an answer of creating either a well-designed Minecraft curriculum or Roblox Curriculum for the right age group.

Hours of research commenced, on the platforms. We wanted to ensure that the curriculum we deliver does not only improve your child’s computational thinking skills, but also most importantly, keep our students safe and secure in an online environment.

We chose to create our Minecraft Code Your World curriculum, and forgo Roblox entirely, despite the multitude of requests we received for Roblox classes. For you to better understand our decision, we will be breaking down our prior research on the two platforms.

Let us see how Minecraft and Roblox compare in 2 key areas; (1) online safety, privacy and parental settings, and (2) programming support.

(1) Online Safety and Privacy Features


  • Minecraft has access to Microsoft’s Xbox features, which include a comprehensive suite of privacy and security features that protects individuals from online dangers.
  • Parental controls are also available on Minecraft, which allow parents to maintain and monitor their children’s interactions and activity online, enabling/ disabling online features to their choice. Such features are also available in the Java Edition, Bedrock Edition (Windows), and Minecraft Education Edition.

Our Conclusion: Minecraft allows children to enjoy learning and playing with proper parental safeguards in place.


  • Roblox (and Roblox Studio used for programming) is a free platform which is easily accessible online and has an easy account creation process (check out the video below which illustrates this!).
  • Roblox is an online experience first, online interactions are at the forefront of its success. Minimal account safeguards exist for parents, and most importantly, children can easily circumvent these safeguards by creating a new account in under 5 minutes.
  • Through research, we have found past articles which documented the presence of inappropriate adult content on Roblox.  Playing on this platform therefore comes with risks such as exposure to sexual content, which is not suitable for minors.

Our Conclusion: Roblox has a low barrier of entry, with minimal safeguards in place, potentially carrying the risk of children being exposed to online dangers.

(2) Programming Support


Image of Minecraft Interface (Minecraft Blog)
Image of Minecraft Education Edition’s user interface

Microsoft released the Minecraft: Education Edition in 2016. Players program interactions inside Minecraft using the embedded Microsoft Makecode editor, which allows programming using blocks (for beginner coders, or text-based JavaScript or Python (for Intermediate and Advanced Coders). Microsoft MakeCode is also available in the Minecraft Bedrock as an additional app, an easy-add on programming tool for young gamers.

Microsoft MakeCode easily scales from Beginner all the way to Advanced level programming. The Minecraft MakeCode API (essentially the coding commands) makes it easy to onboard new coders. Students who have done Scratch can use coding concepts they have learned, such as conditional statements and iteration, in MakeCode. Psst: Coders can even quickly switch their programs from Block language to Python or JavaScript so they can see a side-by-side comparison of the languages!

On top of that, Microsoft is actively developing MakeCode and Minecraft Education. They are adding new code commands (API), features, and support on a regular basis, making the platform a real joy to teach and code on.


Image of Roblox Interface (Minecraft Blog)
Image of Roblox Studio’s user interface

Released in 2005,  Roblox Studio, utilising only the text-based Lua programming language. Roblox does not have a block-based language. Roblox API (application programming interface) is extensive and complex, which is more difficult to understand and discover for young coders and new coders.

Roblox Studio can be paralleled to Unity (a platform used for game development – which we teach to our teens!) which allows game developers to create fully fledged games in Roblox, Whilst the Roblox API allows for creating complex, custom features in games, the learning curve for coding simple things is much more difficult with a steeper learning curve for the average 7-12 year old student. 


Programming on Minecraft is great for young kids to start off with; with drag and drop blocks; which also allows for an easy transition into text-based languages as the student advances. That is why Minecraft is suitable for all ages and programming levels. So when your kid tells you they want to program in Minecraft, believe them! It really is an exciting educational experience they are going through.

Roblox, in contrast, requires advanced knowledge to program more than just the basics. More suited to teens, if you’ve already let your 7 year old try it out; chances are that your young child is spending his/her time playing the game more than coding (so now you know the secret ;-)) Furthermore, without the appropriate parental safeguards and the ease of creating a new account, we really wouldn’t want our students to go therewhy start at all; if Minecraft can provide a much better and safer learning and gaming experience?

Minecraft Education Privacy

Restricted Access to Online Games

– Only players that are in the same Azure tenant (the same domain such as can join multiplayer worlds together. When students create multiplayer worlds in Minecraft Education, only people with accounts on the same tenant can join their world. In other words: it’s easier to limit your child’s interaction when he plays – you know they’re only playing with their friends from coding class, and not random online strangers!

Classroom Mode for Minecraft

– Minecraft Education Classroom Mode is an optional app that allows teachers to monitor and manage multiplayer games in Minecraft Education, such as disabling chat and pausing the game. Yes parents, we use this all the time to ensure optimal class experience and control 🙂

In summary

Here is the main differences between Minecraft and Roblox platforms.

Image of Comparison Chart for Minecraft blog

Our decision?

With our priority being safety and fun learning, it was a clear choice for us. From the credibility of Microsoft, to its multiple years of strict parental controls; to Minecraft being a game first, rather than online interaction. Together with an age-appropriate programming platform, we opted to create a curriculum for our students using Minecraft’s Code Builder!

Our students have won competitions at the National Japan Minecraft Cup Competition for three consecutive years. Every year, students from Singapore and Japan meet online to program and submit their ideas for the cup.  Check out our past accolades here (2019,2021,2022). If your child is keen to join us but has no prior experience, keep a lookout for our special Minecraft Code Your World classes are available during our holiday camps for ages 10 to 12. Check out our schedules here under P21S – Advanced Computer Scientists!

*Note: You would need to complete our App Inventor 1+2 and Python Junior 1+2 before joining our Minecraft classes. 

(Written by Hovan, edited by Thinzar)

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Today, we will get to know one of our most passionate and dedicated educators, Tan Yin Xuan!

With a love for working and teaching people, Yin Xuan’s foray into the tech industry to empower and educate her students definitely makes for an interesting story! Find out more about why she brings a unique perspective to her classroom!

Hi Yin Xuan, can you tell us more about yourself and your journey into teaching?

I am a graduate from NUS Sociology and I love to playing games or watch shows. I’m currently hooked onto the Animal Crossing video game and I also like to watch K- Dramas. I’m passionate about working with and teaching people, especially the kids! I participated in a community service project where we were mentors for low-income children back in 2019, and felt very inspired and had a great sense of fulfilment whenever my mentee manages to understand my guidance in her schoolwork. From there, I realized that I would love to teach children in the future!

Team Photo - Yin Xuan, Educator
Yin Xuan, our cheery and passionate educator!

Interesting! What made you decide to journey into teaching coding?

I was first exposed to coding at Coding Lab, through Scratch, the visual programming language. I was really amazed at the things we can do with a language meant for beginners and children, from simple things like controlling the actions of the sprite, to difficult challenges like making a game with different levels. From then, I learnt to program on other platforms like App Inventor, Thunkable and Python, and discovered the immense possibilities that you can achieve through coding!

It’s really remarkable that you decided to take up the challenge to learn coding. Why do you think it’s important to do so?

I think the logical way of thinking and problem solving behind coding (computational thinking!) is something that we can use in our daily lives! We often encounter problems in our lives that seem extremely difficult to solve, but coding skills help us to solve them. Back in school, I took a module on computational thinking where we had to make use of computational thinking to solve a real-life problem. Only then did I realise the importance of such skills.

What was your experience like picking up coding?

I was quite excited to be learning something new as I knew that coding is something that is very useful. Initially, I was a little apprehensive but I decided to give it a shot since I had the opportunity (along with great resources) to teach and continue to learn about coding!

With a background in Sociology, do you have a unique perspective that you bring to the classroom?

Sociology is a multifaceted discipline that trains us to think critically about social issues and relations. This has allowed me to view teaching and learning as a dual-way relationship, where teachers are not just simply instructing the students, but that the students also play a role.

“I believe that forming good relationships with them will help them to do well in their coding journey!”

That’s amazing! How has your journey been in Coding Lab as an educator been like?

Yin Xuan doing what she does best, teaching with utmost care and attention!

I have been with Coding Lab since 2020 during the circuit breaker, so my first few months of teaching were all online. Initially, it was definitely challenging having to get used to the Zoom functions, and having to make sure that the students can focus while being at home is definitely an issue. That being said, comparing that to physical classes, teaching online has its perks as well, as some of the students, especially the older ones, who may be shyer in physical classes, are more willing to interact online!

That’s really wonderful to hear! What motivates you to keep teaching?

Everyone working here is really friendly and I’ve met many lovely students and parents over the years! The challenge of learning new things is also something I’ve enjoyed. I love seeing the smiles on the students’ faces whenever they manage to apply what they have learned, such as the Scratch students making their own project that they’re proud of, or having the Python students run their hundred lines of code successfully.

Do you have any stories you would like to share from your classroom?

I had a Scratch 1 student who “complained” from the start that coding was so hard as there were many blocks and sprites to code, but at the end of the day, when she successfully made her “I Can Touch and Count!” project (which was split into two lessons), she was so excited to show everyone her project! When I asked her if she could make something like that again, she happily told me “YES, it was fun” and was eventually able to make something that she was proud of in her Hackathon as well.

“Be friendly with them and joke around with them (but at the same time, establish some rules so that they won’t be out of control)!”

Photo of Yin Xuan with smiling student (Yin Xuan's educator feature)
Educator Yin Xuan putting smiles on her student’s faces

Last but not least, is there any advice you would like to pass on to other aspiring educators?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! I did not expect myself to be teaching years ago, much less teaching coding, something that seemed extremely foreign just a couple of years ago!

Thank you for sharing your journey with us Yin Xuan. We look forward to seeing you inspire and nurture the future generation into becoming future leaders!

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Education plays a significant role in the lives of children – both as a milestone and as a journey in itself. As Educators at heart ourselves, we understand the challenges that come with each unique learning experience. Therefore, when a student under our tutelage achieves an educational goal, it is our honour to share the celebratory news!

Welcome to another edition of Coding Lab’s Student Features. Today’s precocious guest is 13-year-old Darius Yong, who made us proud by successfully securing a place at the School of Science and Technology (SST) in advance through Direct School Admission (DSA)!

Click to watch the video version of our interview with Darius! 👆

Hi Darius! Congratulations on entering SST through DSA! How do you feel about this achievement?

Thanks for asking, I am definitely excited as I know SST will provide many opportunities to further my interest in coding. At the same time, I am glad that I don’t have to worry about which Secondary School to choose in the Secondary 1 posting.

Meet Darius, who won the Most Innovative Award at the International Coding Showcase 2020!

Tell us how you first got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

When I was about 9, my father bought me a book that taught me how to program in Scratch. I followed the guide and learnt how to program in Scratch. About one and a half years later, I started lessons with Coding Lab in App Inventor and Python. I had lots of fun exploring different programming languages and platforms.

Watch Darius’ award-winning International Coding Showcase project here!

How did you get started with Coding Lab?

I learnt about Coding Lab from my mum, she signed me up for the App Inventor course, which I really enjoyed. After that, I went on for Python courses.

How has Coding Lab’s DSA Preparation Programme made an impact in your coding journey?

Coding has helped me improve my way of thinking and allowed me to be more patient when there were bugs. Coding has also broadened my exposure as I was able to take part in competitions. I have won the Most Innovative Award from the International Coding Showcase 2020 and also placed within the Top 20 winners for the Coding Olympics 2021.

Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?

We are definitely living in an era of technology, learning coding is important because it can help us and the community to solve problems in possibly new, creative and efficient ways. It also taught me to be persistent and not give up easily when I hit a snag.

What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

Meeting bugs is definitely part of a programmer’s journey. To overcome them, I would Google for solutions or look through my class notes.

Darius is an extremely motivated and dedicated learner that always gives his best effort in attempting the questions. He has been progressing well, especially for someone of his age, he has shown a high level of understanding of the Python concepts taught and has applied them well in different areas by creating his own projects.

– Educator Evan

Apart from coding, what else do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m still a kid so I like reading as well as playing all types of games from Minecraft, Mario Kart, Game of Life and also Heart Attack! I also go for TaeKwonDo classes and earned my black belt this year.

Outside of coding, Darius is passionate about martial arts, too!

Do you have any advice for young people like you who want to start coding?

Never give up on your dreams in coding or in anything you wanna do!

What is your favourite coding project so far and why?

Definitely my Math Game. During the first circuit breaker last year in 2020, I combined both my love for Math and coding to create a Math Revision & Game project for my peers. I came up with the problem sums myself and coded the project in Scratch. I presented it to my Math teacher in School and she loved the idea and shared it with all my peers in school.

GIF of Darius’ Scratch-based Math Game
Play Darius’ Scratch-based Math Game here! 👆

Who is your favourite Educator? If there is one thing you could say to them, what would it be?

This is really a tough one for me …. I can’t really decide who my favourite tutor is but I want to say “Thank You!” to all the tutors who have taught me at Coding Lab! You are all awesome and I am inspired to be like you!

Image of Darius smiling and waving at the camera
All the best at SST, Darius! We know you’ll excel in your new school!

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Darius! Your Educators are proud of you for all of your achievements – in both coding and academics!

Darius began his coding journey at Coding Lab with P205+P206 – Python Junior, before progressing his way up to S203 – Algorithm. Find your own starting point here with us by browsing our course catalogue today!

(Written by Lixin, Edited by Thinzar)

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Rachel is our nurturing and patient educator. With her enduring passion for teaching and guiding young students along the path to coding literacy, our Educator Rachel is here to share about her teaching experience with Coding Lab.

Team Photo - Rachel, Educator
Teacher Rachel – as her students fondly call her – has been an Educator with Coding Lab since 2018!

Hello, Rachel! Could you share about yourself and how you embarked on your coding journey?

My background in coding originates from my Diploma in Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic. Coding actually wasn’t my first choice, but having been given the chance to enter the course, I decided to make good use of the opportunity.

I picked up programming languages such as C++, C# and VHDL (Very High-Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language is a description language used to describe hardware). I then went on to complete my final year by featuring on the Director’s List!

Overall, my learning experience throughout the course highlighted the importance of coding as a future-oriented skill to me. It also inspired me to venture into hardware electronics and coding as a career.

“I’ve watched so many of my students learn and grow. It truly makes teaching a really rewarding career, and it’s heartening to know that I contributed to their learning journey in their lives!”

Photo of Rachel With Students And Certificates (Rachel Educator Feature)
A very special moment at our Parkway Parade campus: the end of a course is always a bittersweet moment, but it’s all worth it to see her students with their hard-earned certificates!

That’s amazing! What inspired you to teach?

Since my teenage years, I had always considered teaching and early childhood-based careers. I also used to participate in volunteering events for beneficiaries, such as food drives and spring cleaning, and found joy in helping and interacting with others. What I love the most is being around kids – their infectious energy makes me feel like a kid again myself!

When my older brother also suggested teaching as a career to me and I came across Coding Lab, I decided to give it my best shot. This was back in 2018, when I officially joined the team. I still remember when I first entered the Parkway Parade campus, I was pleasantly surprised by the ‘chill’ environment! The green beanbags really added to the comfortable learning atmosphere and made me feel right at home.

Fast forward to today, where I’ve watched so many of my students learn and grow. It truly makes teaching a really rewarding career, and it’s heartening to know that I contributed to their learning journey in their lives!

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Coding Lab?

The flexibility of my schedule is something that I really like. I also enjoy conducting Coding Lab’s curriculum! From teaching preschoolers to older coders and hands-on hardware, knowing that there will always be subsequent batches of students who can learn from it is endlessly exciting.

I do get attached to my students, so it does feel a little sad when they graduate from a course – especially my term students, who I see weekly for months. But it is truly bittersweet as I know that their learning experiences and knowledge will be with them for life!

“Our courses show children little glimpses of fields they might choose to pursue in the future, opening up potential career paths.”

Educator Feature Rachel Header (1800x1200px)
Teacher Rachel is always there to lend a warm guiding hand!

Why do you think it’s important for children to learn coding?

Coding hones logical thinking. It involves programming computers to make logical decisions – but as the programmers behind the coding, the children’s thought processes are strengthened too. There are applications beyond practical usage too – it can help in making rational life decisions, such as weighing the pros and cons about their future.

Coding is also beneficial to students regardless of their intended career pathways in the future. For instance, Scratch encourages creativity and inspires them to explore other things such as animation. App Inventor gives kids hands-on experience in creating games and software. Python trains students in statistical analysis. Our courses show children little glimpses of fields they might choose to pursue in the future, opening up potential career paths.

Are there any memorable moments you’ve had with your students?

Yes, I’ve definitely had many! Once, a student baked a box of homemade cookies as a show of thanks at the end of a course. Another student drew a card depicting me at my table with a laptop – she even included the detail of my ponytail!

Oh, and one more that comes to my mind – after physical classes first resumed (during the pandemic), a student and his mother gifted me a homemade unicorn mask after a 5-day camp. I keep these heartwarming moments close to my heart, and it’s also great fun to see each and every student’s different talents and abilities outside of classes!

You mentioned the break in physical classes – the pandemic has shifted some Coding Lab classes online. How has this transition been for you?

Photo of Rachel in Zoom Class (Rachel's Educator Feature)
Online classes with Teacher Rachel are always brimming with enthusiasm!

It was actually a smooth transition for me! I’m well-practised at using my computer for work, so there wasn’t much of an issue – I was already comfortable with online communication, webcams, chat monitoring and other features. Multitasking with two devices was a big learning point for me though! Overall, working from home has allowed me to comfortably save time on travelling.

But physical classes are good too! It’s good to be back at the learning centres. When students that have been attending classes online for months suddenly transition to physical classes, it almost feels as if we’re long-lost friends being reunited! Some students are more silent during online classes, but become really active and participative in physical mediums. It’s like seeing two sides to the same student!

Apart from being a Coding Lab Educator, how do you enjoy your free time?

I create art – drawing sketches, and doing arts & crafts. I’m currently in the process of completing a pixel canvas piece. I also like to collect K-pop albums – especially those by Red Velvet and NCT. As for gaming, I’ve assembled a custom-built desktop PC from selected parts.

I love to spend time doting on my pets, too – I used to have hamsters when I was young, and I’m thinking of adopting another. I also go crazy for Corgis and cute characters!

Lastly, do you have any advice for your fellow educators?

Keep Calm and Teach. The best learning and teaching is when you’re having fun with your students! Don’t be deterred if you don’t have much coding experience; you will be able to learn programming in your own time. Even if you are new to a certain curriculum, the Coding Lab team will always be there to support you – so, don’t be afraid to seek help if you have any questions.

Thank you so much for sharing your Coding Lab experience with us, Rachel! Your passion and dedication for education is an inspiration to us all. We look forward to hearing from the many more children you’ll continue to guide along the path towards coding literacy!

(Written by Cheryl Tang and Lixin Foo)

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Meet Ryan, our upbeat and passionate educator, who brings a wealth of experience to his classes from his time teaching overseas to his impressive work at the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). With a knack for breaking down complex coding concepts, he aspires to inculcate an exploratory and forward-thinking attitude in our students so that each child will be prepared for the digital world ahead!

Team Photo - Ryan, Educator
Ryan was a Senior Engineer at DSTA for 5 years and was also involved with system used by leading data scientists for MINDEF.

Hi Ryan, can you share with us how you first got interested in coding?

I have always believed that technology will be key for the future economy and decided to take a plunge into it when I first applied to Nanyang Technological University to do Computer Science. I had many chances to be exposed to different types of programming languages, so I learnt that there were many different applications of coding.

Now that I’m teaching coding, it requires me to keep learning to keep up with the changes in technology. I love the way technology is able to make life easier and more seamless!

How did you discover your passion for teaching?

When I volunteered at church as a Sunday School teacher for Primary 1 to Primary 6 students, I received a lot of great feedback. I generally enjoy communicating with people and teaching, so I decided to serve the kids overseas as well and gradually started to consider teaching.

Together with my degree in computer science, it was a good job fit when I came across Coding Lab. I love the subjects that I teach and now that I’m given the platform to share about them, it’s only natural for me to do so passionately!

“It gives me great joy to make things simple and easy to understand, so I have lots of analogies, examples and illustrations that interest and help students to grasp the coding concepts.”

Photo of Educator Ryan at our Parkway Parade campus with two students in a Scratch class
Educator Ryan is enthusiastic in educating his students!

Why do you think that learning to code from young is important?

Learning to code gives the child space to explore many different aspects of technology, such as creating simple games, solving puzzles, to coding more advanced programs. Most importantly for all programmers, it’s fun and doesn’t feel like work!

Can you share about your previous experiences at DSTA and MINDEF?

Oh, it’s highly classified information at my previous full-time jobs! I can share that I was involved in doing documentation and training staff to pick up skills for the job, so the familiarity of it all helps now that I’m teaching children to code.

What do you do apart from being a Coding Lab Educator?

On Saturdays (and some school holidays), you can find me teaching at Coding Lab. On weekdays, I’m a student (of the Bible)! Other than that, I have a love for the art of making coffee and pizza. From intricate coffee tools to having my stone oven shipped over from Italy during the pandemic, I would say I’m pretty serious about it.

Photo of Educator Ryan and his 3 students at Parkway Parade campus, with the male student playing the violin and two female twin siblings watching him
A glimpse of Educator Ryan’s most memorable class.

What is the most memorable class or student you’ve had?

There was this particular Young Computer Scientists class that had a pair of twins and this other kid (whose names I shall not disclose). The twins requested him to bring his violin to class and they started a mini-concert playing and singing along to their favourite song “Faded” by Alan Walker. What a start to the coding class!

Even during the Heightened Alert when classes were fully online again, they continued to virtually jam together with their violin, piano and singing over Zoom! And when it was time to code, they were serious and focused. It was truly unforgettable to see them enjoying their coding classes, getting together to have fun and learn at the same time.

If I stepped into one of your classes, what would I experience?

It gives me great joy to make things simple and easy to understand, so I have lots of analogies, examples and illustrations that interest and help students to grasp the coding concepts. I also love to interact and encourage students to speak up, especially the teens, so you can expect a lot of that – especially from me!

Do you have any final words of advice?

To all the students who are thinking of coding or currently coding, I would say to “Do it now!” To teachers, always think of ways to get your students interested and enjoy your time spent with them!

Thank you, Ryan, for taking the time to have this conversation with us! We hope that you will continue to inspire and nurture many more students with us on Saturdays and in all your other endeavours.

Read Next: Meet Hovan, our passionate and personable educator

(Written by Cheryl Tang and Amanda Soh)

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With the major easing of Covid-19 rules, we’re looking forward to even more fun techtivities that we can have in May! Whether you’re enjoying as a family or for your tiny techie to have a blast, do remember to keep all masks on indoors.

For May’s #TechFact, did you know that a programming language based entirely around Pikachu sounds exists? “Pikalang” is one of many esoteric programming languages – creations which are not meant for practical use, but for purposes which range from comedy to art.

Image for #TechFact (May Techtivities)
Pikalang is an esoteric programming language (also known as esolang), which is a type of programming language that explores how codes are written but does not actually have any practical uses.

Now that we’re familiar, keep scrolling to discover the techtivities that you and your family can experience this month! ✨

Jewel-rassic Quest

Go on a dinosaur-themed augmented reality (AR) game that brings storytelling to life through digital interactivity. Travel 89 million years back into the Dino-verse to the Cretaceous period with Jewel Changi Airport’s new attraction, the Jewel-rassic Quest. Armed with a TimeLens device, you’ll get to go on an AR Mission, hunt for dino eggs, unlock minigames and do much more around the world-famous airport as a family!

Image of Jewel-rassic Quest for May 2022 Techtivities
Picture Credit: ByKido

When: Permanent
Where: Jewel Changi Airport
Price: From $22.50
Learn more here.

Apple’s Grow with Creativity for Kids

Yes, we’ve brought up Apple Workshops before – but this time it’s specially for kids. To commemorate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple is collaborating with Superhero Me to bring inclusive arts programmes to their spaces for ages 6 to 15. The artists from GROW will lead sessions and teach creative projects such as animations, stories, songs, games and more using iPads and iPhones in the cosy Apple stores.

Image of Apple's Grow with Creativity for May 2022 Techtivities

When: 23 April – 28 May 2022
Where: Apple Stores in Singapore
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Future Makers

Got an aspiring engineer in the family? This exhibition is exactly what you need to find out more about this potential occupation. Hear about the noble contributions of engineering to individuals and society and interact with the exhibition. From flying drones and rovers to robots carrying large-format screens and an escape room to test your wits, it is recommended that you spend about an hour on this exhibition at the Science Centre Singapore.

Image of Future Makers for May 2022 Techtivities

When: Permanent
Where: Science Center Singapore
Price: From $8
Learn more here.

Got more time to spare?
You can also drop by the Brickman Wonders Of The World, a LEGO Brick Exhibition at The Annexe, Science Centre Singapore available until 3 July 2022.

Code Your World with Minecraft

Your child may already be playing Minecraft with their friends, but do they know how to code with it? ⁣⁣⁣Introducing Coding Lab’s latest research area for Advanced Computer Scientists ages 10 to 12: Minecraft: Code Your World!

Our special Minecraft programme jumps straight to advanced coding and uses Code Builder software to teach tiny techies to design their own world and program structures such as the Great Pyramids. Expect a smorgasbord of coding and learning the Coding Lab Way for your little adventurer, with our thoughtfully curated and age-appropriate curriculum.

P21S-MiCr Advanced Computer Scientists: Minecraft: Code Your World banner

When: 30 May to 24 June 2022
Where: Parkway Parade and Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) only
Price: From $452.34
Sign up here.

Fun Fact:
Our students from Coding Lab Japan participated in the National Microsoft Minecraft Cup conducted in Tokyo, Japan, and won the Best Coding and Most Creative Awards in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Read more about it here!

June Holiday Coding Camps 2022

Coding Lab’s MIT-inspired and award-winning curriculum seeks to instil a passion for coding in every student. With a myriad of exciting courses for Ages 5 to 18, it’s the perfect place for your child to begin their coding journey and get a headstart in life!

This upcoming summer school holidays, come walk through our Coding Lab doors and enter the wide wonderful world of coding. With a curious mind, dedicated educators and stunning workbooks, your child is all set to embark on their exciting coding journey! You can even opt for Online classes anytime. Sign up here or feel free to drop us an email, call us or WhatsApp us to get in touch.

June Summer Holiday Coding Camps 2022 Banner

When: 30 May – 24 June
Where: Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall), Seletar Mall, United Square and Online
Price: From $401.52
Sign up here.

Bonus: Stand a chance to win more than $400 worth of prizes!

The secret’s out: we’re expanding our home at Bukit Timah (KAP Mall)! Named after a pioneering MIT researcher and educator in technology and education, our Papert room is the latest extension of Coding Lab – complete with our signature look and feel. We’re talking floor-to-ceiling glass windows, boardroom-style rooms, 65″ flippable state-of-the-art monitor and much more. 

To celebrate this, we’re having a lucky draw! Simply sign up / renew ANY Coding Lab course from 20 April to 5 June 2022 and you will be entered into our lucky draw* to win:

👉 Grand Prize: Gold Class EagleWings Cinematics movie tickets x 1 pair
👉 Other Prizes: LiHO vouchers x 20
👉 EagleWings Cinematics movie tickets x 10 pairs

Sign up for your Coding Lab class now!

Image for #TechNews (May Techtivities 2022)

This month’s #TechNews is about Allie the AI chatbot digital assistant answering visitors’ questions about artefacts in the Asian Civilisations Museum’s Jewellery Gallery virtual exhibition. 🙋

The chatbot was jointly developed by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and they are looking to bring tech to other local museums soon. 🤖

Experience the AI-guided virtual tour for yourself here!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our April #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool, tech-related activities you can do with friends and family!

(Written by Cheryl Tang and Trinh)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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For today’s student feature, we’ve invited two curious coders. Meet Isaac (aged 11) and Alicia Khong (aged 9), who won the Social Impact Award and People’s Choice Award respectively during the International Coding Showcase 2020, and also Judges’ Choice (Most Innovative) and Judges’ Choice (Best Design) respectively during the International Coding Showcase 2021! These clever and articulate siblings began their coding journey one after another, here at Coding Lab. Don’t miss this first-ever double-bill student feature!

Watch the video version of the Khong siblings’ interview here.

Tell us how you first got started with coding. What do you like most about it?

Isaac: When I was young, I often saw my father using the computer in his room. I was curious about what he was doing and asked him. When I found out that he was coding, I asked if I could start it as I was always fascinated by the computer.

I got my first Windows computer when I was in Primary One, and I started learning basic Scratch on my own with a book that my father had bought me. I was fascinated that you could do so many different things with the computer and I wanted to do more. My favourite part about coding is that you can ask the computer to do whatever you want to get a result.

Alicia: My brother started coding, and I felt that it would be interesting, so I followed him and started coding too. I like how it works – if you type something, and if the code is right, then something happens.

Meet the Khong siblings – Alicia (aged 10) and Isaac (aged 12)!

It’s awesome to hear that you were both inspired by family members! How did you decide to begin your coding journey with Coding Lab?

Photo of Alicia coding
Alicia started coding at the age of 7 and gets inspiration for her latest coding projects from her family.

Isaac: I was researching about coding schools when I found Coding Lab. Although I looked through many schools, Coding Lab caught my attention as it offered a huge variety of programming languages and had a structured curriculum.

Alicia: I saw my brother going to Coding Lab, and he said it was fun, so I tried Coding Lab.


How has coding made a difference in your life since?

Isaac: I have been coding almost every day and I have started to learn how computers work. Additionally, I have also started to teach coding to my sister. So instead of being just a user of technology, I have learned how to create new technology.

Alicia: It helps me develop a new interest, I can use my free time to make a new animation or platformer on Scratch.

Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?

Photo of Isaac coding
Isaac is passionate about harnessing tech to better our future – as can be seen from the projects that he codes!

Alicia: I believe learning to code can help me to organise my thinking.

Isaac: I think coding is important as the world is continuously moving and changing to a more urbanised and high-tech world. In the future, many things would be controlled with computers and computer chips. Learning to code allows me to create technology to contribute to society next time.


What are the difficulties you faced while learning to code and how did you overcome them?

Photo of Alicia by the pond
Aside from coding, Alicia is passionate about reading and writing, with a journal collection of her very own stories.

Alicia: While I was learning Scratch, I sometimes had difficulties trying to think of new and interesting project ideas, so I would ask my family members what animations they want to see.

Isaac: Some of the challenges I have faced are syntax errors, methods and functions. When I face these issues, I try my best to look for solutions and voice out for help when needed.

Do you have any advice for young people like you who are beginning their coding journey?

Alicia: When you start to learn coding, it may be quite difficult and challenging, but if you keep trying and learning, you will succeed. You will then have a new way of creating your own projects and ideas.

“Alicia is a studious and brilliant learner who is able to adapt to new areas of knowledge swiftly and effectively. Her ability to do this led to her picking up advanced Scratch skills and even the intricacies of the Micro:Bit hardware in no time. She is always able to understand the concepts taught in class, and is a helpful girl who takes part in class discussions to promote the learning of fellow classmates.”
Educator Hovan

Screenshot of Isaac Khong presenting his FIFA Python program for International Coding Showcase 2021
Isaac is an avid coder and FIFA fanatic (this screenshot shows a snippet of his impressive FIFA Python program!) who enjoys reading books and watching documentaries in his free time.

Isaac: I would encourage young people to learn coding as technology is forming the future like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain. Start by learning simple programming with blocks and Graphical User Interface (GUI). Some websites and tools you can use to begin your coding journey include Scratch, Lego Mindstorms or Micro:Bit. This enables you to have a strong foundation in coding. You can then continue with App Inventor and Python to enhance your skills. This way, you can learn coding more productively just like how I progressed through the Coding Lab syllabus.

“Isaac is a very responsible and independent student who has shown great understanding in programming. He displays great interest in programming and is very attentive to detail. With a strong and stable foundation in coding, Isaac displays self discipline and great concentration. He shows great enthusiasm towards learning and on many occasions, I have seen him attempting the challenges before the rest and he is helpful and willing to share his knowledge with his classmates.”
Educator Edmund

Click to watch Alicia’s International Coding Showcase 2020’s Scratch project, “Catch the Balloon”, which won her the People’s Choice Award!

View Isaac’s entrepreneurial budgeting Python project (which draws graphs for you) that he submitted for the International Coding Showcase 2020 here!

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Alicia and Isaac. Hearing about your growing passion for coding certainly warms our Educators’ hearts – and our readers’ too!

Until next time – we look forward to your future achievements, Isaac and Alicia!

The Khong siblings’ coding journey is an example of how childhood interest, when nurtured, can blossom into a useful new skill. Through the shared learning experience of coding, their bond has become stronger than ever!

Isaac Khong began his journey at Coding Lab with our App Inventor and Python Junior courses in 2020 – and progressed through our S200 Advanced Electives (for ages 13 to 18) by the time he was 12. Isaac was awarded the Social Impact Award in our International Coding Showcase 2020 and Judges’ Choice (Most Innovative) in our International Coding Showcase 2021.

Alicia Khong’s first coding class was Scratch One in 2020, and she got to hone her coding capabilities in our Young Computer Scientists. She’s now delving into App Inventor! Alicia, 10, was awarded the People’s Choice Award in our International Coding Showcase 2020 and Judges’ Choice (Best Design) in our International Coding Showcase 2021.

Our #CodingLabStudents series features our ambitious students and their ongoing coding journeys – be it the budding coder or advanced Python Pro, we appreciate each and every single one’s efforts as they progress to greater heights. 🌱

Coding Lab offers an award-winning curriculum specially for ages 5 to 18 – check out our courses to begin your own coding journey today!

(Written by Zulaikha and Lixin)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

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Whether you’re having your Easter Holidays or it’s back-to-school, here are more fun techvities to mark in your calendar this month, especially with the easing of safe management measures! 

For April’s #TechFact, have you ever wondered what Sir Stamford Raffles looked like in real life while staring at his statue by the Singapore River? Today, using AI and machine learning, you can now generate realistic pictures of historical figures and anything you can imagine with just a click! Give it a try with Artbreeder here.

Image for #TechFact (April Techtivities)
Generate pictures with your very own computer and machine learning model Artbreeder!

Now that we’re all warmed up, keep scrolling on to discover techtivities that you and your family can indulge in this month! ✨

‘Weird But True!’ Exhibition: Learn Interesting Facts With National Geographic

National Geographic is having a Weird But True! Exhibition packed with visually stunning photos and colourful graphics. Your little techie is sure to have a fun and exciting outdoor trip as they plunge into the fascinating worlds of the plant and animal kingdom. 🌱

Spanning 290 square metres in Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay, visitors can expect captivating, larger than life photos, colourful graphics and catchy texts. The photographs are a curated collection from National Geographic’s extensive library. 🤩

Image of Weird But True (April Techtivities)

When: 22 Feb – 31 July 2022
Where: Crystal Mountain (Level 4) at Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest
Singapore Residents – $12/adult, $8/child, $8/senior
Standard – $20/adult, $12/child
Learn more here.

Got more time to spare?
Find out more Weird But True! fun facts about animals, places, abilities and more random things here.

Fungus Humongous

Get ready for a trip for the whole family as you venture into Fungus Humongous, a magical forest where everything, from fallen branches to all kinds of fungi, has been scaled up to huge proportions! 😮

Did you know? The arts space that you see today was designed based on what children thought about the concept! Experiential workshops were conducted by the artists to collect insights and research, which inspired them to design for a better experience. Special considerations were also paid to the flow of the space, its material selection, and interactive touch points – to make it enjoyable for children of all abilities. So rest assured that your child will have a wonderful time as they play and learn! 🙌

Image of Fungus Humongous (April Techtivities)

When: Until 8 May 2022
Where: The Artground
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Changi Experience Studio

Grab your little techie for a journey of fun and discovery through the exciting virtual world of Changi Airport! From interactive games to amazing projection experiences and immersive shows, engage in wonderful technological adventures. ✨

In this first-of-its-kind digital attraction, the whole family can experience the magic of technology while learning about aviation and what it takes to keep one of the world’s best airports going. How awesome!

Image of Changi Experience Studio (April Techtivities)

When: Permanent
Where: Changi Airport L4
Singapore Residents – $19/adult, $13/child, $13/senior
Standard – $25/adult, $17/child, $17/senior
Learn more here.

Easter Holiday Coding Camps

This upcoming Easter Holidays, come walk through our Coding Lab doors and enter the wide wonderful world of coding! 🤩 With a curious mind, dedicated educators and stunning workbooks, your child is all set to embark on their exciting coding journey. 🛣

 Whether they are attending physically or online – we’re excited for everyone to experience the joy of coding. 🥰 Sign up here or feel free to drop us an email, call us or WhatsApp us to get in touch!

Banner of 2022 Easter Coding Camps

When: 4-14 April
Where: Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) and Online
Price: From $401.52
Sign up here.

2-Hour Easter Coding Workshops

Celebrate Easter with some fun learning how to code in our exciting 2-hour coding workshops! 👩‍🏫 Best of all, you don’t need prior coding experience. This means that you can bring a friend who’s new to coding to join in the fun. 🤗

  • Our young techies can create a fun game of Catch The Easter Egg as they discover key concepts like loops and conditionals in Scratch Junior (Ages 5 to 6). 🐇
  • Scratch warriors will get a fun introduction to programming functions like clone and sensing as they program the rabbit to collect eggs that spawn randomly (Ages 7 to 9). 🥚
  • Python enthusiasts will get to familiarise themselves with pattern recognition and loops as they use Python Turtle to create an Easter Day Card (Ages 10 to 12)! ✨ 

Banner of 2022 Easter Coding Workshop

When: 16 April
Where: Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) or Online
Price: From $65
Sign up here.

Image for #TechNews (April Techtivities 2022)

You might’ve spotted this while on the road. This month’s exciting tech news is about National Parks Board (NPark)’s animal detection system!

Pairing CCTVs with analytics technology, LED lights will activate whenever the system detects animal activity. 💡 To help reduce roadkill and keep wildlife safe on the road, NParks has developed this to alert road users of wildlife crossing so that they would reduce their vehicles’ speed. 🚗 It was first deployed at Old Upper Thomson Road and is now at Rifle Range Road. 

Learn more about the animal detection system here!

Bonus: Brickman Wonders of the World LEGO Brick Exhibition

Looking forward to finally travel but you can’t go just yet? This LEGO exhibition at the Science Centre Singapore deserves a special mention this month!

With more than 50 of the world’s most iconic landmarks built by a LEGO Certified Professional, the world is brought to you – no passport required. This interactive and educational journey includes a 3.6-metre tall CN Tower from Canada, a Titanic ship build that weighs 120kg, and the St Basil the Blessed Church from Russia, which took 320 hours to build. You can even get creative with the one million LEGO bricks in the Master Builder Zones!

Image of Lego Brick Exhibition (resized)

When: 25 March – 3 July 2022
Where: The Annexe, Science Centre Singapore
Price: From $23
Learn more here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our March #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool tech-related activities you can do with friends and family!

(Written by Zulaikha and Trinh)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at [email protected]
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

March is one of the sunniest months in Singapore and we can’t wait to explore around with a brand new list of fun techtivities that you can do for the month!

For March’s #TechFact, we always hear of encryption in cybersecurity, which helps to keep our data safe. Did you know that encryption dates back to ancient times, with one of the earliest methods being the Caesar Cipher? Yes, named after Julius Caesar!

Image for #TechFact (March Techtivities)
Psst, Google has a standard method of Gmail encryption called Transport Layer Security (TLS)! As long as the person with whom you’re emailing is also using a mail service that supports TLS, all messages you send through Gmail will be protected and remain private for you and the recipient. 

Now that we’re all warmed up, keep scrolling to discover techtivities that you and your family can indulge in this month! ✨

Total Defence 2022

In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, Singapore Discovery Centre has curated many exciting exhibits, showcases and programmes to enable us to learn more about our past. 🇸🇬🌟 One of them is XD Theatre Ride: TD Special – a 4D multi-sensory ride experience full of thrilling twists, turns and explosive effects. Your kids are sure to have a blast and discover the wonder of how technology is able to provide such experiences!

Come join in the fun with your family and friends in exploring how Singaporeans overcome past incidents and challenges through each of the six pillars of Total Defence. With technology utilised in many of the activities, your little techie will have a whale of a time as they learn with ease and on the go. ✨

Banner of Total Defence 2022

When: 15 Jan – 27 March 2022 (depends on the activities)
Where: Singapore Discovery Centre
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Shopee Code League

Shopee Code League is back again with a 2-week coding league consisting of two rounds of intense coding competitions, open to all students and professionals!

This year, get to put your coding skills to the test by challenging yourself to solve algorithmic puzzles designed by the Shopee Engineering team. Participate with your buddies to solve real-world problems, and battle it out as the region’s coding champions. 🏆

Shopee Code League 2022

When: 14 – 26 March
Where: Online
Who: All students and professionals
Price: Free
Learn more here.

To Be You

If you are looking for some virtual activities to do with your family and learn something new then To Be You is perfect for you — it is an award-winning Singaporean interactive fiction game that lets you experience life as someone else! Built with the intention of getting to the heart of empathy, players are given the chance to literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as they play characters of different identities (be it race, religion, lifestyle, etc.) in the game.

To Be You was conceived to help dismantle stereotypes and reduce prejudice, and ultimately foster greater empathy and inclusiveness among Singaporeans. This idea was one of the winners of the 2020 MCCY:Mission Unite Hackathon.🌤️ If you’re a coder, it’s more ideas for meaningful coding projects that you can build yourself!

Image of To Be You Game

When: Permanent
Where: Online
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Coding Bytes – Under The Ocean

If you’re not yet familiar with Coding Bytes, it is our special series of small, bite-sized programming projects to welcome budding students into the world of coding by following along and doing it on their own at home! The third App Inventor instalment features Tutor Yue Wei, who teaches us how to program a fishing game with a Game Boy interface. 🎣 Join your little one as they program the medium-sized goldfish to eat the small fishes to gain points, while avoiding the big fishes to live longer! 🐟

Added your own twist to the program? We’d love to see it! Tag us @codinglabasia on Facebook or Instagram and stand a chance to be featured! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel too to get notified on our latest videos.

Includes: Engaging, fun and quick tutorials on Scratch and App Inventor programming
Watch the series here.

March Holiday & Easter Coding Camps

This upcoming March and Easter Holidays, come walk through our Coding Lab doors and enter the wide wonderful world of coding! 🤩 With a curious mind, dedicated educators and stunning workbooks, your child is all set to embark on their exciting coding journey! 🛣

Your child’s safety is of utmost importance, which is why the sanitising of classrooms and safe distancing will be put in place at all times. You can even opt for Online classes anytime. Sign up here or feel free to drop us an email, call us or WhatsApp us to get in touch!

Banner of 2022 March Holiday and Easter Coding Camps

When: From 14 March
Where: Online, Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall)
Price: From $401.52
Sign up here.

Image for #TechNews (March Techtivities 2022)

Did you know that there’s a new, tuition-free and teacher-less (read: independent) way to study tech for adults of all backgrounds in Singapore? 😮 That’s right, this is now possible with 42 Singapore, a collaboration between Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and the French non-profit Ecole 42.

Together, 42 Singapore hopes to develop a pipeline of tech talent for the burgeoning digital company. This Computer Science programme is open to anyone above 18 years old regardless of academic qualifications and will commence by the end of 2022, so keep on the lookout for admissions information!

We certainly hope to see more people getting into tech, especially in this digital era. 👀 You can read more about 42 Singapore here!  

Another interesting #TechNews: the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) is happening 24-27 March 2022 on Decentraland! It’s free as long as you have your digital wallet and are ready to buy NFTs. What are Decentraland, cryptocurrency and NFTs? Don’t worry, we’ve got NFTs simplified for you here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our February #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool tech-related activities you can do with friends and family! 

(Written by Zulaikha and Trinh)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at [email protected]
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

NFTs are all the rage these days. From artists like Jay Chou to musicians, influencers, that monkey/ape profile picture, and your friend posting about the NFT they just bought, everyone seems to be jumping on this bandwagon. 🤔 So what are NFTs, how do they work, and what is the hype all about? Are you up to date? The Coding Lab Team has it all simplified for you here! 👇

NFTs Simplified (Header)

What are NFTs?

NFT stands for ‘Non-Fungible Token’.

Non-Fungible means that the item is unique and cannot be swapped or replaced with something else. It’s exclusive. Token refers to it being digital and protected using blockchain technology.

Putting it together, a Non-Fungible Token is a one-of-a-kind asset. Think of it as owning the only Picasso painting, or one of the rare Pokémon trading cards, or an autographed poster – there is only one original copy of it, and it’s irreplaceable. Purchasing an NFT represents your ownership of the items.

NFTs are a type of cryptocurrency.

Most NFTs today are part of the Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency, which runs on blockchain technology. However, it is not only Ethereum, you can sell an NFT and ask for whatever currency you want.

We get it, more tech buzzwords that are making your head spin! Don’t worry, let’s break it down:

What is cryptocurrency?


Cryptocurrencies (or cryptos) are digital currencies, based on blockchain technology, with no central authority. This means that instead of banks or the Monetary Authority of Singapore, internet users manage and maintain its value through several computers. The most well-known cryptos include Ethereum and Bitcoin. Similar to money, you can use crypto to buy things or purchase crypto as an investment. Crypto is fungible because 1 ETH / $1 USD is exchangeable for another 1 ETH / $1 USD.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology

This refers to shared, decentralised financial records of digital assets that cannot be modified. With each transaction, a “block” of data is recorded across several computers in a peer-to-peer network. These blocks are linked – or chained – together to prevent any changes in the blockchain.

Simplified: NFTs are a type of digital currency. Instead of holding money, they hold unique assets like art or music. Instead of banks and other central authorities protecting it, blockchain technology secures it.

“The whole point of using a blockchain is to let people – in particular, people who don’t trust one another – share valuable data in a secure, tamperproof way.”
– Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review

How do NFTs work?

NFTs are digital certificates of authenticity with a unique identifier (think: similar to a barcode or ID number), with the sale recorded and secured by the Ethereum blockchain. This record is shared to the public (maintained by thousands of computers around the world) – there are no banks or central authority involved – so anyone can verify it and it can’t be modified or copied. When an NFT is transferred from seller to buyer on a public marketplace, that proof-of-ownership is transferred.

Screenshot of Ghozali Everyday on the NFT marketplace
NFTs of this Indonesian student’s selfies bagged him more than US$1 million. (Screenshot taken from NFT marketplace)

This means tokenising things like photos, art, GIFs, videos, music, animated stickers, programming code, and so much more, which can only have one official owner at a time. This also means creating scarcity of assets (it is up to the owner and available information for the public), which may drive prices up or down.

Confused? Imagine you are going to buy or sell NFTs. You’ll go to an NFT marketplace with your digital wallet, which is NFT-compatible. There are digital photos, art, music, and much more for sale. After browsing, you decide to buy an NFT. The Ethereum blockchain records this sale and publishes it online, ensuring security in your transaction. You get your digital product (which sometimes comes with real-life items) and a unique identifier that certifies that you are the owner of the authentic item.

What constitutes an NFT?

From fine art like Picasso’s paintings being released as NFTs to the photo of the rubbish bin sold for US$252,000, almost anything can be minted (published) and sold as NFTs, and there is now a mainstream interest in digital collectibles.

Elon Musk released a song about NFTs to sell as an NFT, which he later changed his mind about.

Recently, Christie’s auction house sold this Beeple JPG file for US$69.3 million (to a Singapore-based technopreneur), a new record for digital-only art. Even real estate – virtual real estate – in the Metaverse, in the online world Decentraland, was sold in the form of NFTs for US$2.4 million (S$3.3 million).

Click here to read more international NFT headlines:

  • Sales of NFTs hit US$25 billion in 2021, compared to the US$94.9 million in 2020.
  • The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, sold his first tweet NFT for US$2.9 million.
  • In the fashion world, brands like Givenchy, Burberry and Adidas have announced NFT collections and digital wearables, while other fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and JW Anderson are taking different approaches into NFTs. Decentraland will be hosting the first Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) in March this year. You can attend the event for free and choose to purchase digital wearables with Ethereum, with opportunities to buy physical real-life designs.
  • In the sports world, people have spent more than US$230 million on digital collectibles of NBA highlight videos. This blockchain-based card system known as NBA Top Shot includes a highlight video of LeBron James scoring for a record US$208,000.
  • Did you know that musicians like Kings of Leon and Snoop Dogg are releasing their new albums in the form of an NFT?

Click here for more NFT news in Asia:

  • You might have seen Jay Chou posting about PhantaBear, which has topped the Global NFT Sales with a total value of US$53 million. Buyers of PhantaBear NFTs are promised the art, ticket access to virtual concerts and special access to premium venues.
  • Have you heard of the Indonesian student’s seflies that are worth more than US$1 million?
  • Malaysian artist Red Hong Yi created the Memebank Banknotes NFT series of spoofed and redesigned banknotes, with Doge To The Moon sold for about US$78,000. An exhibition for Memebank is also in the works.
  • A physical NFT art gallery opened in Bali in January 2022.
  • K-pop companies are jumping on NFTs too, such as NFTs of BTS photocards and NFTs for other groups that come with perks such as concert tickets and autograph signings.

Click here for more about NFTs closer to home, in Singapore:

Still with us? That last Instagram story you took, the photo of the view outside your window, your phone-recorded rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor played on your keyboard – really anything digital can be minted and sold as NFTs.

After reading all these headlines about buying and selling NFTs, it’s easy to be reeled in. But remember that these are just the success stories and celebrities who are jumping on. Every decision comes with benefits and risks!

What benefits are there?

Singapore-based technopreneur Metakovan showing his NFT of the record-breaking US$69.3 million "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days" digital collage by Beeple
Singapore-based technopreneur Metakovan showing his record-breaking US$69.3 million NFT of “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days”, a digital collage by Beeple. (Photo credit: AFP via Getty Images)

The hype today revolves around buying and selling digital art on NFT marketplaces.

But what’s so special about digital files that you can just right-click and save? Just like how anyone can buy a Picasso print, only one person can own the original. Only those few can own that luxury bag or that surprise sneaker drop. In NFTs, it’s the blockchain-certified ownership of the original work (and bragging rights).

For artists, creators or sellers:

  • Artists get a cut of the sales every time their NFT changes hands. They get to make their own terms with ‘smart contracts’ on the blockchain, through a process known as minting NFTs.
  • Digital work can be sold more easily by trading directly online in NFT marketplaces and with access to a larger audience. A big investor, collector or celebrity might purchase your art, opening the door for you and your work.
  • Transparency. With all the transactions recorded on the blockchain, prices of the last sale and who the NFT belongs to are visible to everyone. This way, artists know who (the username) and where their NFTs are.

For buyers or collectors:

  • Anyone can purchase NFTs, unlike traditional art auctions where buyers are vetted.
  • Buying NFTs financially supports the creators of the work, and grants ownership and usage rights (but not the copyright).
  • NFTs as an investment. Just as with other assets, you can buy NFTs with the hope of its value appreciating in the future, so that you can sell it for a profit.
  • Some NFTs come with perks, such as real-world items, access to digital or in-person events, and free NFTs.

Screenshot of an NFT marketplace's latest activity, which shows information of recent NFTs sold, its price, quantity, time and the buyer and seller's usernames
This screenshot shows the information (such as the price in ETH and usernames of the buyer and seller) made public when you buy or sell on an NFT marketplace.

Remember that not all NFTs are like that one original Picasso piece. It could also be the Pokémon trading card with 5 copies, or even 50. Some people see NFTs like fine art collecting, while others treat it like collecting Pokémon cards.

“Artists have been using hardware and software to create artwork and distribute it on the internet for the last 20 plus years but there was never a real way to truly own and collect it. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the next chapter in art history, digital art.”
– Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, NPR

What are the issues?

Photo of American artist known as Robness showing off his NFT of a large plastic trashcan with added glitching effects.
“I can’t even remember where the image came from, I think it was a Google image search,” says American artist Robness, who sold his NFT for US$252,000. (Photo credit: AFP/Valerie Macon)

1. Scammers are everywhere, and that includes NFTs.

As much as NFTs are now a new way for creators to earn money, it opens up new avenues for art theft as well. Several artists have their work turned into NFTs without their consent or any attribution, some even through impersonating the artists themselves. Copying and stealing work is easy with a few clicks, and minting NFTs is an anonymous process that allows art theft to go unnoticed. It happens in the real-world with fakes and plagiarism, it goes on in the digital world as well.

You might be wondering, “Isn’t blockchain technology safer?” Well, cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology, and have been stolen before.

With anonymity and lack of verification, it’s hard to know what you’re buying and who you’re buying from. For example, the Evolved Apes NFT project promised “a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs trapped inside a lawless land”. With US$2.7 million, the developer disappeared and buyers never got a thing. This isn’t the first time that something like this happened.

2. There are concerns about the environmental impact of NFTs.

When blockchain technology runs on computers across the world, it’s no surprise that it is energy-intensive. Similar to cryptocurrencies, it uses a lot of electricity and emits greenhouse gases, which contributes to climate change. When minting an NFT, it requires you to verify your transactions to create new blocks on the blockchain. This is done through mining, where you have to solve challenging mathematical problems and requires powerful computers.

For measure, each NFT transaction on the Ethereum network takes up about two American households’ worth of daily energy. That’s a lot. This is also why you sometimes have to pay “gas” fees when you make a transaction. It’s also why some people are boycotting NFTs. There are some greener alternative NFT platforms and using renewable energy, though the environmental impact is still a huge concern.

3. Legal questions surround NFTs.

The artist or creator still retains the original work after the sale, and can continue sharing and selling it. As an NFT buyer, you own a unique identifier of a work of art, not the copyright to the art. After all, these are still digital files that you can copy and paste, and artists can create scarcity of their own assets when they choose to sell 1 copy of it, maybe 5, or even 50 of it.

Smart contracts are often embedded into NFTs, so it’s important that you know the terms of your sale and purchase. Aside from protecting the creator’s rights to royalties, it may also have conditions that limit you from transferring your NFT. (Yes, smart contracts on blockchains is a thing.)

Keep in mind that NFTs are still a relatively new asset class, so the legality and regulations around it are still under development across the world, and very much of it falls in the grey area.

In Singapore:

  • NFTs are not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and are not considered legal tender.
  • Smart contracts may or may not be legally enforceable in Singapore.

Did you know?
Cryptocurrency is beginning to be accepted as a method of payment. Bitcoin is now welcomed on websites like Microsoft, Expedia, in countries like El Salvador, and institutional adoption by the European Investment Bank. Such decentralised finance (also known as DeFi) is said to be the next big thing in fintech.

You’re not missing out.

Just because you see it in countless news articles, on so many celebrities’ profile pictures, and your friends posting about it, it doesn’t mean that you’re missing out on the latest investment. NFT markets are volatile, especially for something so new with no proven track record. There are NFTs that have fallen in value, even those minted by celebrities.

“With all these new platforms, for every individual, the caveat is you really need to know what you’re doing. If you’re not comfortable with it, don’t get near it. As you can see from cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, it is very volatile.”
– Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who sold a few NFTs of his landscape photographs for charity, CNA

Should you get involved in NFTs?

Screenshot of popular NFTs Cryptopunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club on an NFT marketplace
The world of NFTs is complex, with CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (yes, the ape/monkeys NFT profile pictures) constantly coming up on top.

NFTs are definitely on the rise, and can be a great opportunity for you whether you’re a creator, seller, collector or buyer. You may be having these questions: Where do I start buying? How do I start selling?

Don’t just jump on the hype train. Whether you’re a seller or buyer, do your due diligence to find out more about reputable NFT marketplaces, secure cryptocurrency wallets and how to keep your money safe. Heard of OpenSea or Polygon? Don’t share your seed phrase? Do you know the additional transaction or “gas” fees? NFTs are complicated and ever-changing. There is so much more to NFTs than what is written here!

  • If you’re investing, remember that the market is unpredictable. Carefully consider the risks and benefits, read the smart contracts and find reputable NFT marketplaces and sellers.
  • If you’re collecting, then just like physical art, its value is subjective and lies in the eye of the beholder. You’ll be supporting the artist along the way too.
  • If you’re selling, it could open the door for you and your work if you know your smart contracts and learn how to collect your money safely.

“The truth is that the value of any NFT is speculative. Its value is determined by what someone else is willing to pay for it and nothing else.”
– Dragan Boscovic, Research Professor of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, The Conversation

You may be wondering if NFTs have a future.

And if so, what’s in store? Should you invest now? Or is this another bubble waiting to burst?

We don’t have the answers either. We might just stick to right-clicking to save our photos or we could be busy minting our next NFT with our lines of programming codes (just like this 12-year-old coder did as the developer and web app creator of an NFT collection that is raking in millions).

This might be the next big thing or a hype that will die down once the next thing comes out. Just like Bitcoin was once seen as the digital currency, NFTs are now the digital collectibles. Maybe the Metaverse is next.

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