China Criminalizes Theft of Digital Collections, Including NFTs

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China Criminalizes Theft of Digital Collections, Including NFTs

Breaking news from the digital frontier! China is making some bold moves when it comes to the world of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and digital collections. In a significant declaration made on November 10, the Chinese government laid down the law: stealing digital collections, including NFTs, will now be treated as theft, potentially leading to criminal sentences.

This groundbreaking announcement has sent shockwaves through the digital world. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it such a big deal? Let’s break it down for you.


  • China has declared that stealing digital collections, including NFTs, is now a criminal offense subject to penalties.
  • The declaration classifies theft of digital collections as a violation of protection laws and computer information system data acquisition.
  • The act involves intruding into the system where the collections are stored, making it a property crime.
  • NFTs were specifically mentioned in the declaration, recognizing them as unique, non-copyable, and permanent assets.
  • Despite China’s crypto-related activity ban, there’s growing interest in NFTs, and even state-owned media is exploring its own NFT platform.


China’s Declaration: Theft of Digital Collections as Criminal Offense

The Chinese government’s statement leaves no room for ambiguity. According to this declaration, stealing digital collections, such as NFTs, is considered a criminal act that violates protection laws and interests related to the illegal acquisition of computer information system data.

But here’s where it gets interesting: the statement outlines three different perspectives on the nature of this crime. The first two views categorize it as either data theft or theft of digital property. However, the game-changer is the third view, which sees digital collections as a blend of both data and virtual property. Under this perspective, it falls under the category of “co-offending.”

Related: Asia’s Emergence as the Next Global Crypto Hub

Remember, digital crime doesn’t pay.


The Anatomy of Digital Theft

So, what does stealing a digital collection entail? It goes beyond just snatching a virtual item. It involves intruding into the system where these collections are stored, thereby committing the crime of illegally obtaining computer information system data. In simpler terms, it’s not just stealing digital goodies; it’s trespassing into the digital vault.

The declaration even goes so far as to name digital collections “network virtual property” and emphasizes that in the eyes of criminal law, these collections should be recognized as property. In other words, if you steal someone’s digital collection, you’re committing a property crime.

The NFT Connection

NFTs were explicitly mentioned in the declaration. China recognizes that digital collections are a derivative of the concept of NFTs, which have gained popularity worldwide. NFTs utilize blockchain technology to link specific assets with unique, non-copyable, tamper-resistant, and permanently stored characteristics.

The declaration acknowledges that even though China has imposed strict regulations on most crypto-related activities since 2021, there has been a growing interest in NFTs. Notably, a local Chinese marketplace, Xianyu, recently lifted its censorship of NFT-related keywords, indicating a renewed interest in the digital collectibles market.

Related: DCJPY: Japan’s Venture into Digitized Yen Launching July 2024

China’s NFT Aspirations

Surprisingly, despite the crypto ban, China is exploring its own NFT endeavors. China Daily, an English-language newspaper owned by the Chinese government, has announced its intention to create its own NFT platform. They’re even offering a hefty reward to a third-party contractor to design the platform up to their specifications. This move shows that China is not only recognizing the significance of NFTs but also aiming to be a player in this digital arena.

Related: NFT Display Wars – Who Will Reign Supreme?


China’s declaration on criminal sentences for stealing NFTs and digital collections marks a significant turning point in the digital landscape. It’s a clear signal that the country is taking digital property and NFTs seriously, with potential legal consequences for wrongdoers. As China explores its own NFT ventures, it’s evident that the world of digital collections is evolving rapidly, and this development will undoubtedly have ripple effects in the global NFT ecosystem. 

Source: CoinTelegraph

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