In an announcement on Wednesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency will air its first series of NFT collectibles. The move is a nod to blockchain technology that was previously rejected by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In an official release, Xinhua plans to release 10,000 copies of 11 photos taken by journalists in 2021.
Interest in NFTs is puzzling given recent events in the world’s second largest economy. After a nationwide crackdown on cryptocurrencies, where the mining of Bitcoin (BTC) Yes Ether (ETH), China recently targeted NFTs in the Metaverse, suggesting that they be closely monitored. Despite the anti-crypto sentiment, tech giants Tencent and Huawei fearlessly tried to force their brands into the metaverse.
On the other hand, as part of a broader crackdown on cryptocurrencies, some Beijing websites, including ChainNews, went out in early December. Chinese cryptocurrency media held back on their websites and instead focused on growing their communities on Twitter and Telegram.
Oddly, however, it is not the first time the country has joined the NFTs. During the “DeFi Summer 2.0” The South China Morning Post has created a number of NFTs that use a new token standard called “ARTIFACT” which is used to preserve historical assets on the blockchain. However, it is important to note that the SCMP is based in Hong Kong. This gives the newspaper greater autonomy and the independent executive, legislative and judicial branches that Hong Kong is known for.
Hong Kong is no stranger to blockchain technology or NFT coins. In June of this year, pro-Hong Kong activists managed to archive articles from a pro-democracy newspaper on the blockchain. More than 4,000 articles from the Apple Daily have been uploaded to ARWeave, a popular blockchain-based storage platform supported by Andreessen Horowitz.
Ultimately, the PRC’s release of NFT begs the question of whether Xinhua’s release of NFT indicates the advent of blockchain technology. At the time of this writing, the commercial activities of proponents of Chinese NFTs remain restricted. NFTs cannot be resold after purchase, while the only currency available to fans of this type of crypto asset is the local currency, the renminbi. Given the widespread anti-crypto stance of 2021, more evidence of the PRC’s movements in the blockchain space is needed.