China is revisiting its rigid stance on nonfungible tokens (NFTs). After a year marked by severe restrictions on blockchain ventures, a subtle but significant change has occurred. As per reports from local news on October 25, there’s a notable shift in the air.
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Lifting the ban on NFTs
Xianyu, the premier peer-to-peer marketplace owned by Chinese internet titan Alibaba, has made a bold move. The platform, colloquially known as “Bored Fish”, has ceased censoring “nonfungible tokens” in its search tool. Furthermore, it has resumed listing Topnod NFT collectibles, which are minted on Alibaba’s Ant Blockchain.
This decision marks a departure from a previous, more stringent approach. Until now, Topnod digital collectibles were barred from secondary markets due to the haze of regulatory uncertainty. It was a period of silence and inactivity for these digital assets.
Government-backed NFT marketplace
Last December, the Chinese government announced it was gearing up to launch its official NFT trading platform within the year. As of now, the platform is still under construction.
China’s relationship with crypto-related activities has been tumultuous since the beginning, as the country was once the epicenter of Bitcoin mining before a nationwide ban in 2021. The government has officially banned almost all such ventures, with the sole exception of outright ownership of cryptocurrencies.
Despite the restrictive regulation, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has been working on ways to integrate Web3 technology. A recent example is the China Daily newspaper, a state-owned online newspaper, revealing its upcoming NFT marketplace.
Unclear regulation by China and other countries
This partial lifting of bans on NFTs could signal a softening in China’s approach. However, the road ahead remains unclear. While this change is promising for NFT enthusiasts and blockchain advocates, the future of these digital assets in China is still shrouded in regulatory ambiguity.
With the exception of Singapore, NFT regulation in other countries also suffers from the same lack of clarity. The CEO of Mintable recently claimed that the United Kingdom (UK) is applying restrictions that will stifle NFT advancements, citing a lack of knowledge from regulators.
But perhaps the worst approach to NFTs has been from the United States (US). While failing to provide clear regulatory guidelines, the North American government has prosecuted two projects, Stoner Cats and Impact Theory, for conducting NFT sales.