China’s State News Agency Issuing NFTs Amid Countrywide Crypto Crackdown

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In Brief
  • China’s state news agency will issue several digital collectibles this week, amidst the current crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

  • The “digital news collectibles” will be minted from select news photography reports issued this year by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

  • Xinhua joins the ranks of other news outlets who have started commemorating historical events on the blockchain.

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The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency.

China’s state news agency will issue several digital collectibles this week. This is amidst the country’s current crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

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The “digital news collectibles” will be minted from select news photography reports issued this year by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.  “It’s a unique year-end review,” Xinhua said. “Moreover, it’s digital memory written in the metaverse.”

According to the statement, the collection will consist of 11 different collectibles. They will each comprise of 10,000 first edition units. This is in addition to a special edition. The collection will be available for free after launching on December 24.

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Crypto crackdown

The release comes amid China’s yearlong crackdown on private cryptocurrency activities, such as trading and mining. It aims to achieve blockchain supremacy within five years. Chinese authorities have not officially banned non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But they inhabit a gray area that still invokes the potential to draw unwanted scrutiny. For their part, Chinese media outlets have warned against “blind speculation” in NFTs. 

China’s state news agency and NFTs

Domestic payment titans Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Ant Group Co. seem to have tacit approval to continue pursuing blockchain related developments. For instance, both have issued NFTs on their respective blockchain platforms. This is despite being tightly-controlled. China’s state news agency’s “digital news collectibles” will operate on a Tencent Cloud blockchain platform. They will each have unique identification and ownership information embedded. 

Capturing history

China’s state news agency is not alone in their dive into NFTs. Noting that the digital collectibles have “special commemorative significance and collection value,” Xinhua joins the ranks of other news outlets. They, too, have started commemorating historical events on the blockchain. Earlier this year, the Associated Press sold its first NFT. It commemorated the first time a US election was called on a blockchain in November 2020. To commemorate its 175th anniversary, AP later auctioned NFTs of its most iconic photographs. In an especially meta release, the New York Times sold an NFT of a column about NFTs for $560,000.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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