China to launch NFT marketplace
Despite China's ban on cryptocurrencies, China is continuing to explore the potential of digital assets with reports that a state-backed "Digital Asset Trading Platform" will be launched soon. The platform is expected to facilitate transactions of non-fungible tokens (NFTs, often called digital collectibles in China).
A launch ceremony was scheduled for 1 January in Beijing. The platform is developed and run by three entities, including China Technology Exchange (which is government backed), Art Exhibitions China (an official agency), and Huban Digital.
The markertplace will reportedly be built on the "China Cultural Protection Chain", a platform designed to register, verify, deposit, track and protect digital assets and their intellectual properties.
According to China Daily, the platform will also integrate with other parties to provide users with valuable information, data and content in relation to the metaverse and digital collectibles.
NFTs (or digital collectibles) have a large user base in China, despite the country's ban on traditional cryptocurrencies. In China, NFTs cannot be purchased with cryptocurrencies and are often traded on closed, highly regulated platforms as opposed to open ones.
The platform marks another attempt by China to actively harness the economic and technology benefits associated with blockchain and Web3 technologies. In the past year, among others, China:
continued the roll-out of its central bank digital currency (the e-CNY);
has been building a Blockchain-based Service Network for domestic and international companies; and
the Shanghai government launched a $1.5 billion Metaverse Development Fund.
Earlier this month, a Chinese court ruled that digital assets have similar property rights to items sold on e-commerce sites, which was seen as a major milestone in their protection of NFTs as property in China.