Major Chinese tech giants Ant Group, Tencent and JD.com signed a “self-regulation” convention on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with state organizations on Sunday, according to an Ant Group WeChat post and Chinese media.
China’s Big Tech appears to be facing increasing pressure over the companies’ involvement with NFTs. The market hype around the unique digital assets appears to have made regulators worried that NFTs are edging too close to crypto trading, which has been practically banished from China in large part for creating too much market speculation.The “Digital Culture and Creative Industries Self-Regulation Convention” is made up of 11 tenets that align with central government aims including “enabling the real economy; promoting national culture; supporting the development of the industry; adhering to the original letter of the law; ensuring value support; protecting consumer rights; working with controllable consortium chains; maintaining cybersecurity; ending virtual currencies; preventing speculation and financial risks; and preventing money laundering.”The National Copyright Trading Center Alliance, the China Academy of Fine Arts, state broadcaster CCTV’s Animation Studio and Hunan Museum also signed the convention along with Tencent’s cloud division and JD.com’s technology subsidiary.Ant Group and Tencent recently changed references on their websites and platforms from NFTs to “digital collectibles,” likely to put more distance between their products and crypto markets.Red Date CEO Yifan He confirmed during a Friday conference the companies were trying to distance their “digital collectibles” from crypto. Red Date is building the Blockchain Services Network, a government-backed internet of blockchains. The Beijing company launched its own NFT infrastructure at the conference.In its statement on the name change, AntChain, Ant Group’s blockchain arm, all but said that it wanted to appease regulators who think the name “NFTs” causes too much speculation. The company conducts its digital collectibles business in compliance with regulations and opposes market speculation, AntChain said.NFTs have, up to this point, mostly been exempted from China’s crackdown on crypto.