China’s Communist Youth League the latest state-backed group to embrace NFTs, with tokens marking its centennial

·3-min read

China’s Communist Youth League, a cradle for generations of Communist Party leaders, has embraced NFTs to mark its 100th anniversary.

On Wednesday, the organisation issued 54,000 of the centenary NFTs for free, but labelled them “digital collectibles” as Beijing officially bans cryptocurrencies.

They featured the league’s official mascot tuanbao, a white, round animated face with two communist stars on the head. The NFTs, built on the blockchain developed by Hangzhou Shunwang Technology, were all taken within an hour.

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Just like other digital collectibles in China’s closed NFT market, the tokens are not allowed to be traded.

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The issuance came on China’s Youth Day, celebrated annually on May 4 as a tribute to student demonstrations in 1919 against the Treaty of Versailles after the first world war, when Chinese territory held by the Germans was given to Japan.

Separately, China’s prestigious Peking University issued 20,000 digital collectibles in the form of alumni cards to commemorate May 4 as well as the school’s 124th anniversary.

NFTs, digital assets built on the blockchain, are attracting the attention of an increasing number of Chinese state-backed Organisations as well as privately-held tech giants.

State-run Xinhua News Agency jumped on the bandwagon last Christmas Eve when it gave away more than 100,000 digital collectibles, featuring news photos from “historical moments in 2021”.

Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, and social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings, were the first tech giants to embrace NFTs, launching dozens of products since last summer. JD.com and Baidu followed with their own digital collectibles. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

China’s Communist Youth League issued NFTs of its mascot to mark its 100th anniversary. Photo: Handout
China’s Communist Youth League issued NFTs of its mascot to mark its 100th anniversary. Photo: Handout

However, the companies have been careful to discourage potential speculation. In March, Tencent’s WeChat app froze multiple accounts that marketed digital collectibles. A WeChat representative said at the time that the platform had enforced “regulation and rectification on public accounts and mini programs that speculate on or resell digital collectibles”.

Around the same time, Ant Group’s digital collectible platform Topnod punished 56 accounts for participating in the resale of digital collectibles for profit. In January, more than 300 additional accounts were punished for using plug-ins and scripts to snap up digital collectibles.

Last month, three Chinese government-managed financial associations jointly released guidelines to prohibit the use of NFTs in the issuance of securities, insurance, loans and precious metals.

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