Chinese state media agency Xinhua has announced plans to launch a line of NFTs despite a stringent nation wide crypto ban.
A company statement today said that Xinhua would “adopt blockchain technology” to turn press photographs into NFTs which will be issued for free via its news app on Friday. Xinhua said its range of “digital news collectibles,” which includes an image to commemorate 100 years of leadership by the Chinese Communist Party, recorded many “precious historical moments in 2021,” which will become a “digital memory… written into the world of the metaverse.”
The decision to embrace blockchain technology for an NFT line signals Beijing’s fraught relationship with crypto assets.
In May China banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing crypto services and warned investors against speculative crypto trading. The country’s central bank later declared all digital asset payments illegal.
NFTs are yet to be declared illegal, but remain an area of uncertainty for Chinese investors.
Xinhua’s new line of “digital news collectibles” suggests that the booming global NFT market, which saw global sales volumes top $10.7bn in the third quarter of 2021, has caught the attention of Beijing.
Chinese companies, including Ant Group, which are already exploring or applying NFT technologies and most Chinese metaverse-related companies saw stocks rise today following the Xinhua announcement.
Augmented reality firm Goertek jumped six per cent while the online gaming company Perfect World gained nearly four per cent.
Xinhua is far from the first media company to jump on the digital artwork bandwagon. An NFT of a column about NFTS from the New York Times selling for $560k while The Economist sold the cover image for an issue about DeFi for £420,000.