Theft of Digital Collections, Such as NFTs, is Punishable by Criminal Prosecution in China

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Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Bitfinsider

On November 10, the Chinese government issued a statement stating that theft penalties would apply to anyone who stole digital collections, including Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

It presents three different perspectives on the categories of crimes that digital collection theft falls under; the first two categorize it as either digital property or data theft. The declaration emphasizes that “co-offending” would apply to the third approach, which views digital collections as both virtual property and data.

According to the statement, stealing a digital collection also entails breaking into the system that houses it, which makes it a criminal to take and get computer information system data illegally.

It goes into more detail on this subject, referring to digital collections as “network virtual property” and emphasizing that “collections should be recognized as property” in the context of criminal law.

The inclusion of NFTs made it clear that digital collections are based on the idea of NFTs “abroad” and employ blockchain technology to “map specific assets” with attributes such as “unique, non-copyable, tamper-preventing, and permanent storage.”

“Consumers can rely on trading platforms to complete purchases, collections, transfers, destruction and other operations to achieve exclusive possession, use, and disposal capabilities,” the statement stated, even though China has not established the “secondary flow market” for digital collections.

NFTs have gained popularity recently, despite China’s stated ban on almost all cryptocurrency-related activities and transactions starting in 2021, save from the act of owning cryptocurrencies.

On October 25, a local Chinese media site revealed that the peer-to-peer marketplace Xianyu, controlled by Alibaba, has lifted its ban on keywords linked to “digital assets” and “nonfungible tokens” in its search engine.

Previous to that, the Chinese government’s English-language daily, China Daily, declared on October 6 that it intended to develop its own NFT platform and would pay a third-party contractor 2.813 million Chinese yuan ($390,000) to construct the platform according to its requirements.

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