China Declares Criminal Charges for NFT Theft
This declaration highlights a major shift in the recognition of digital assets and its protection.
The Chinese government has announced that stealing of digital assets such as NFTs) would now be legally considered as theft. Perpetrators of this act are to be subjected to criminal sentences as this violates the protection law. This statement was released on the 10th of November and strict measures have been put in place since then.
This move outlines three perspectives regarding the nature of digital collection theft. The first two views classifies it as a breach of data or digital property. However, the third view categorized digital collections as both data and virtual property. Hence, such theft is termed as co-offending. Additionally, the government explained that the act of stealing a digital collection is an intrusion into the system. Therefore, this action doubles as a crime of illegally obtaining computer information system data.
This declaration came from the government despite its strict stance on crypto-related activities. The country officially banned almost all crypto-related activities and transactions in 2021. However, citizens were allowed to still own different cryptocurrencies. With these recent developments comes a ray of hope regarding NFTs within the country.
Non-Fungible Tokens as a Property
The Chinese government also referred to digital collections as network virtual property. They emphasized this status by saying: “Since property is the object of property crime, digital collections can obviously become the object of property crime. If the digital collection is stolen by intrusion into the system or other technical means, the act also damages the property law.”
These collections include NFTs which utilizes the blockchain technology to map specific assets. They are unique, non-copyable, tamper preventing and permanent storage characteristics. This declaration has granted consumers in China access to digital collections. This is despite the absence of a secondary flow market for digital collections. They can rely on trading platforms to purchase, collect, transfer, destroy and also manage these collections. By doing this, consumers can acquire an exclusive possession, use and disposal capability.