The director of blockchain copyright at the National Press and Publications Administration, Liu Tianjian, stated that NFTs in China will not enjoy copyright protection until they conduct a review of NFT regulation.
China’s Historic Attitude towards NFTs and Digital Assets.
The last few weeks has been grim for cryptocurrencies. We have seen the implosion of notable networks and projects. Additionally, other digital assets have also not fared well, and are hit with significant market deterioration.
However, China’s historic hard regulatory position serves as a reminder that crypto is not solely for investment purposes. There are also instances where people have used crypto for political purposes. Furthermore, NFTs have also been a tool for political propaganda, since it is a form of digital art.
NFTs have attracted a lot of attention recently mostly because of the exorbitant prices these digital artworks were commanding in online transactions, at least until the market meltdown. They have also attracted the attention of dissidents in China, who use them for political purposes. As a result, the ruling Communist Party has imposed increasing regulation over online content over the past few years.
Chinese Dissidents Circumvent Regulation via NFT
Ahead of this year’s Winter Olympics, the artist Badiucao, sometimes known as China’s Banksy, created a series of subversive NFTs. These digital art works reinterpreted the games’ marketing campaign with references to Beijing’s human rights atrocities and the Chinese origins of Covid-19.
According to a weekend report in the Wall Street Journal, the technique has attracted new followers since then. There are also instances where dissidents used NFTs to circumvent the harsh chinese censorship regulations.
In contrast to the frequent removal of content from Chinese social media sites, censors have no ability to erase data from a blockchain network. Therefore, sophisticated Chinese internet users circumvent government firewalls to access these NFTs. And these users provide links to several copies of the underlying media stored on servers beyond Beijing’s control.
In addition to NFTs, dissidents utilize Arweave, a program that aims to provide persistent, decentralized data storage. They have also applied blockchain-based application to scan China’s popular microblogging network, Weibo. This aims at copying postings that the regulators will likely ban in advance.
Although these applications are still primarily experimental and inaccessible to the majority of Chinese citizens, they show the difficulties blockchains provide to anyone attempting to exercise control over online information.