Chinese news agency Xinhua to release NFTs
In a notice, the news agency said it planned to release 11 news photos as digital collectables on December 24 at 8 p.m. (1200GMT). The NFT collection is limited to 10,000 copies and also includes a photo celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.
The NFTs would be available to mint for free, and Xinhua said it would "imprint digital memories into the metaverse."
News of the release comes as a surprise to many as the Chinese Communist Party frequently criticized the concept of NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
For instance, another official news agency, called The Securities Times, described the metaverse as "a grand and illusionary concept." The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese government, also dismissed NFTs as possible fraud.
Beijing has strongly opposed cryptocurrency and other related technology, especially this year. Bans on crypto-related activities like trading, exchange activities, and initial coin offerings were reiterated and enforced, as the government feared it would threaten the nation's financial stability.
In May this year, the government prohibited cryptocurrency mining, and some online platforms have banned cryptocurrency-themed videos.
NFTs are currently a grey area, as they aren't explicitly prohibited, yet, the public is still being careful about the topic and tries not to draw unwanted attention. Notable tech companies in the country, like Tencent Holdings and Ant Group, have issued NFTs on their private blockchain platforms.
Still, this recent development might indicate that the government is changing its stance on NFTs. Tencent said last month it expects Beijing to allow the metaverse to operate in China, provided it fall into line with Chinese rules.
The NFT collection would be released on the Tencent blockchain, and Xinhua described it as "a unique year-end review." The NFTs will feature unique identification and ownership information, the news outlet said, while highlighting their "special commemorative significance and collection value."