Some of China’s biggest tech firms including the likes of JD, Tencent, and Alibaba’s Ant Group have signed a “self-regulating pact” that involves a commitment to “fighting” or “eliminating” cryptoassets.
Per JRJ and NBD, the agreement was sealed at a meeting led by the National Copyright Exchange Center Alliance, a government-led copyright regulator that was founded by a decree from the State Council, the executive body of the central Chinese government.
The meeting saw Ant, Alibaba’s fintech arm, the tech and entertainment giant Tencent’s cloud division, and the IT arm of the e-commerce behemoth JD (also known as Jingdong) in attendance, in addition to the China Academy of Art, the Hangzhou Internet Notary Office of Zhejiang Province, as well as an arm of the state-owned media group CCTV.
The main focus of the summit was digital art, audio, and video contents, but both crypto and blockchain were mentioned on a number of occasions in the text of the agreement. The parties pledged to foster a healthy ecosystem for “digital cultural creation” in China.
They agreed on the need to use blockchain technology to help boost the “authenticity and credibility” of digital works’ issuance, purchase, and collection, praising its ability to “protect the rights and interests of creators” and fight counterfeits.
However, they also agreed to ensure that crypto was kept out of the space, and added that their efforts should ensure that “speculation and financial risks” were kept away with a crypto-free policy that ensured the “prevention of money laundering risks.”
Whether they are acting of their own accord or as a response to heightened pressure from Beijing, both Ant and Tencent have come out in favor of a form of self-regulation that seeks to place crypto firmly in the shadows.
Ant has released a list of digital contents “don’ts” – which include commitments to “resolutely resist” all “activities” related to “cryptoassets,” and fight “malicious speculation on the price of digital items.”The company also essentially pledged to refrain from developing or dealing with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) connected with financial products.
Last month, Tencent’s digital arm made similar noises, committing to working with a “compliance framework” with its own digital content developments and “firmly resisting illegal activities related to [cryptoassets].”
Both firms, like JD, had been pursuing NFT-powered business avenues prior to the crypto crackdown of September this year, but have been forced into a volte-face of sorts, ensuring their tokens are released on private blockchains, rather than popular networks such as Ethereum (ETH).
And last month, the apparent climbdown took a new turn when the tech titans, per the media outlet NBD, agreed to start referring to their NFT items as “digital collection items” or “digital collectibles” – another sign that Beijing will not tolerate crypto-related language in the business sphere.