From everyday people on the internet to the worlds’ biggest celebrities, it seems everyone loves NFTs these days. In just a few short years, they’ve gone from a novel concept that only hardcore blockchain lovers knew about to a cultural phenomenon that has taken over the world.
However, not everyone in every part of the world is a fan of NFTs. Just recently, WeChat, one of the biggest messaging services in China, suspended a number of accounts that were linked to NFTs. This ban reinforces not only the platform’s official policy but also China’s attitude towards blockchain as a whole.
NFTs’ Treatment in China
For the longest time, China’s relationship with blockchain has been a complicated one. Cryptocurrencies outside the state-backed digital yuan token are banned in China. In the last few years, Chinese authorities have also begun seizing crypto mining equipment throughout the country.
NFTs are a rather tricky affair in China because while they are not outright banned, they are not used as freely as in other parts of the world. While most NFTs in circulation are based on privately-created blockchains with little government interference, NFTs in China are built on blockchains approved by the Chinese state.
NFTs can also only be bought with the yuan, China’s national currency. This, of course, shows how strict China has remained with its cryptocurrency ban.
As such, platforms in China have to be very cautious about what blockchain or crypto-related content they allow. According to Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, it removed several public accounts to enforce its official NFT rules. The now-banned accounts had apparently been reported to WeChat management by users.
The rules in question are that WeChat accounts can list digital assets but can’t offer secondary sales of them. This is to avoid promoting speculation about crypto-related transactions. Those who list the assets also have to provide a certificate confirming that they are registered with a Chinese regulatory body.
Within the NFT world, it is not uncommon for assets to be sold through messaging channels like WhatsApp and Telegram. While there are official NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, the industry is still largely unregulated.
In China, however, the government’s approach to blockchain and crypto seems to extend to the NFT sector as well. In a statement, Tencent confirmed that mini programs, which act as mini apps within the WeChat ecosystem, can only display NFTs.
China’s Place in the NFT World
It is clear that as much as blockchain and all its products, including NFTs, are becoming more popular, China will not be budging on its stance. Years since the initial declaration, cryptos continue to be banned and blockchain regulation continues to be strict.
Despite all of this, the demand for crypto products has not been quelled. In fact, China continues to rank high in crypto trading volume, powered by Chinese citizens using VPNs. While NFT regulations or bans in China have not yet been announced, we can expect that the NFT space will find its footing in the region regardless.