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A Bold Move Against Digital Theft
In a landmark decision, the Chinese government has fortified its regulatory arsenal to combat the theft of digital collections, with a specific focus on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). This move, detailed in a recent announcement, marks a robust stance against those involved in stealing digital assets, underscoring the government’s commitment to safeguarding the virtual property landscape.
Digital Collectibles Defined as “Network Virtual Property”
The new regulations officially recognize digital collectibles, including NFTs, as “network virtual property.” This classification is a significant departure, given China’s stringent ban on cryptocurrency-related transactions in late 2021. The government justifies this categorization by highlighting the unique codes, non-tamperable features, and detailed transaction information associated with digital collectibles.
Legal Ramifications for Offenders
According to the official statement, the theft of digital collections violates protection laws and the interests associated with the illegal acquisition of computer information system data. The government emphasizes that, as property is the object of property crime, digital collections can be considered a target of such criminal activities. Intrusion into systems or other technical means to steal digital collections is deemed as an act that also infringes upon property law.
Trading Platforms Ensure Exclusive Ownership
Despite the absence of a formally established “secondary flow market,” the directive assures consumers that trading platforms remain a legitimate avenue for buying, collecting, transferring, or disposing of digital assets. This provision aims to ensure exclusive ownership and control for users, all within the bounds of the newly introduced regulatory framework.
Navigating Cryptocurrency Disputes in 2023
China has witnessed a surge in civil disputes related to cryptocurrencies throughout the year. Conflicting court rulings have emerged, with some affirming the legal protection of virtual assets, while others dispute this notion. In May, Chinese prosecutors expressed their commitment to cracking down on what they termed “pseudo-innovations” within the country’s NFT market.
Growing Interest Despite the Ban
Despite the overarching ban on cryptocurrency activities, there is a growing interest in NFTs within China. In a notable move last month, China Daily, the country’s state-owned English-language newspaper, unveiled plans to launch its own metaverse and NFT platform. Offering a substantial incentive, the publication aims to expedite the development of its Zhongbao Shuzang NFT issuance platform, signaling a potential shift in the Chinese perspective on digital assets amidst a complex regulatory landscape.
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