- China has offered an inside view into the legal status of digital collectibles, including NFTs.
- The official view defines NFTs as both data and property.
- The commentary observes that stealing NFTs is punishable with theft sentences.
The Chinese government has published a legal commentary on the status of digital collectibles, including NFTs. The commentary, published on the China Court Network website, offers the official view on the implementation of theft sentences for offenders caught stealing digital collectibles.
The text, as reported, stated that Chinese regulations classify digital collectibles in three different ways. The first category is considered electronic data from computer information systems and is viewed as theft under the country’s cybersecurity regime. The second category considers digital collectibles as digital property and states that theft will fall under property regulations.
The third category of digital collectibles sees them as both data and property. This category defines their theft as co-offending and advocates a punitive regime that is a combination of the first two categories. The comment observes that the first two categories lack a comprehensive evaluation of digital collectibles. The text calls for the implementation of the view for theft of digital collectibles.
As Reuters reported, China has had a total ban on all crypto-related activities since 2021. In this context, the government statement offers clarity on the status of digital collectibles and makes it clear, stating:
…consumers can rely on the trading platform to complete operations such as purchase, collection, transfer, and destruction, and achieve exclusive possession, use, and disposal rights.
Additionally, the commentary offers definitions of NFTs under the Chinese legal system. Digital collectibles are classified as non-homogeneous tokens that map specific assets with the help of blockchain technology and acknowledge their immutable nature. The text also ventures to say that the value of NFTs is derived from on-chain processes.
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