Ant Group, Tencent Change NFT References to ‘Digital Collectibles’: Report

NFTs appear to be facing regulatory heat in China.

Oct 25, 2021 at 5:57 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 26, 2021 at 3:14 a.m. UTC

Ant Group and Tencent have changed references of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to “digital collectibles” on their platforms and sites, Chinese media Jiemian reported.

  • So far, NFTs have not been included in the Chinese government’s rules against crypto trading and mining. However, state entities have warned against the use of NFTs for market speculation. Last week, a government-run tech park in the Guangdong province cautioned people against scams that prey on the NFT hype.
  • The two firms appear to be distancing themselves from NFTs. Tencent said the reference change reflects the company’s commitment to compliance. Ant Group reiterated it is against the digital collectibles hype and market speculation and added that the term “digital collectibles” will be “better understood by the public.”
  • Ant Group runs a marketplace focused on celebrity NFTs on its Alipay platform, and has issued NFT collections of historical artifacts as recently as Friday, as well as one for the 2022 Asia Games.
  • In August, Alipay said users must hold their NFTs for 180 days before transferring them to others in order to curb speculation.
  • Regulators have recently interviewed Big Tech platforms about their NFT products, Chinese blogger Colin Wu said, citing anonymous sources. CoinDesk was not able to confirm the report.
  • Such interviews often occur when companies have crossed some line with Chinese authorities. Ant Group had such a sit-down with regulators, prior to its IPO being cancelled last year.
  • Other big companies, such as e-commerce platform, have also launched NFTs in China.

UPDATE (Oct. 26, 03:15 UTC): Adds Ant Group English statement in second bullet point.


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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.