China’s Hangzhou city court has ruled that non-fungile tokens, or NFTs, represent virtual property protected by law in the People’s Republic. The ruling stems from a case involving a dispute between a customer and a platform hired to sell a token collection.
Hangzhou Internet Court hears case on property rights over NFTs
A court in Hangzhou, capital of eastern China’s Zhejiang province, heard a dispute between a customer and a local digital art platform that canceled an NFT sale on his behalf. The user sued the company, claiming that the transaction was terminated without his consent.
The platform that returned the payment explained that its action was due to inaccurate personal information it received from the claimant. In accordance with customer identification procedures, orders placed without real name authentication must be canceled and the announcement must be made in detail.
The Hangzhou Internet Court said that NFT collectibles carry property rights properties such as value, scarcity, controllability, and tradability, while digital collectibles are virtual properties. In the statement, quoted The judicial body was also highlighted by Colin Wu, a Chinese crypto journalist known as ‘Wu Blockchain’ on Twitter:
The contract involved does not violate the laws and regulations of our country, nor does it violate the actual policy and regulatory guidelines to prevent economic and financial risks and should be protected by law.
The court further explained that “as a virtual work of art, the NFT digital collection itself condenses the original artistic expression of the creator and has the value of associated intellectual property rights. At the same time, NFT digital collections are unique digital assets formed on the blockchain based on the mechanism of trust and consensus among blockchain nodes.
Therefore, the Hangzhou court concluded that NFT collections fall under the category of virtual property. It also held that the transaction in the case represents a business activity related to the sale of digital goods over the Internet, therefore it falls under e-commerce activities and should be regulated as such by China’s “Electronic Commerce Law”.
Last year, the Chinese government launched a nationwide crackdown on cryptocurrency-related activities, such as the issuing, trading and mining of digital coins such as bitcoin. While allowing the issuance of NFTs, regulators have tried to curb speculation with them. They are often referred to as “digital collectibles” rather than “idle tokens” to avoid association with the crypto space.
In April this year, reports surfaced that popular Chinese messaging app Wechat had suspended accounts linked to NFTs. And in September, it was revealed that China’s National Copyright Administration (NCAC) had launched a campaign to combat copyright infringement and piracy through digital collections.
What future do you see for NFTs in China? Share your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below.
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