China is launching its first state-backed non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, the latest sign of embrace for a technology that’s occupied a legal gray area within the country’s notoriously strict regulations on cryptocurrency.
A ceremony celebrating the launch of the marketplace will be held in person in Beijing, the country’s capital, on Jan. 1.
The platform will be run by a trio of state-owned and private entities: China Technology Exchange and Art Exhibitions China, both of which are government-backed, and Huban Digital, a private company, according to a report by Chinese state media outlet China Daily.
The marketplace, whose name translates to “China Digital Asset Trading Platform,” will also be used to trade digital copyrights and property rights along with collectibles.
The platform’s underlying blockchain is called “China Cultural Protection Chain,” according to the report.
NFTs have been popular amongst Chinese traders for much of the past two years, but not in the same ways as the rest of the world. NFTs in China cannot be purchased with cryptocurrency, according to the country’s laws, and they aren’t referred to as NFTs, but as digital collectibles.
Digital artwork is also traded on closed, highly regulated platforms as opposed to open ones. 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.