China to protect NFTs
In a surprise move, the Chinese government has guaranteed legal protection for NFTs.
In response to a series of often conflicting judicial opinions on the state of cryptocurrency in the country, the Chinese government has officially issued a legal commentary on dealing with cases of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) theft and their status as virtual property protected by law.
According to a Nov. 9 publication by China’s state-controlled Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SUPL), digital collectibles such as NFTs — unlike ordinary online images — conform to the characteristics of online virtual property due to their non-tamperable features, unique codes and detailed transaction information.
“This highlights the scarcity of digital collections, which have both use value and exchange value,” jurists write. “According to Article 127 of the Civil Code, it can be seen that from the perspective of civil law, online virtual property is regarded as an object of rights that ‘is different from property rights, creditor’s rights, intellectual property rights, etc. and is protected by civil law’.”
In addition, jurists state that the theft of NFTs, therefore, carries applicable criminal penalties, which can be evaluated in conjunction with related offenses committed during the course of the theft, such as hacking into computer systems or data theft.
“Digital collections have technical characteristics that cannot be copied, indicating that the holder has exclusive control. If the digital collection is stolen by others, the holder loses exclusive control,” jurists from SUPL say.
“Although our country has not yet opened the secondary circulation market for NFTs, consumers can rely on the trading platform to complete operations such as purchase, collection, transfer, and destruction, and achieve exclusive possession, use, and disposal rights.”
China has seen a rise in civil disputes this year involving cryptocurrencies, with some courts ruling that virtual assets are protected by law and others saying they are not. Last month, Chinese government-owned newspaper China Daily announced a 2.813 million Chinese yuan ($390,000) grant for third-party contractors to design an NFT platform. In May, Chinese prosecutors announced they would crack down on “pseudo-innovations” within its NFT market.
Bitget’s to invest in India
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitget will invest $10 million over five years in startups primarily based in India.
According to the Nov. 7 announcement, startups will have the opportunity to pitch to Bitget and venture capitalists including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, and Draper Labs, during the BUIDL for Web3 multichain summit in India.
“Bitget aims to identify valuable and promising projects in the crypto space and provide them with comprehensive support, accelerating innovation in emerging technologies,” the exchange says. To qualify, projects must have a minimum viable product and hold multiple layers of security functionalities with auditing transparency.
Gracy Chen, Bitget’s managing director, says that India is “the most wanted place to invest in Asia,” citing its constant advancements in blockchain and overall entrepreneurial spirit. The exchange’s previous investments in Indian Web3 startups include AI-based script generator Grease Pencil, AI resume generator HAIr, and AI dermatological app Derma360.
Linekong’s $15M Bitcoin Fund
Linekong Interactive, a Chinese tech firm listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX), will kickstart a $15 million fund dedicated to revitalizing the Bitcoin (BTC) ecosystem.
According to founder Wang Feng, the new fund is dubbed “BTC Next” and will accelerate novel projects developing asset issuance, exchanges, virtual machines, NFTs and GameFi protocols on the Bitcoin blockchain.
“BTC NEXT will participate in the research and investment of Bitcoin network ecological assets as early as possible, publish crypto investment portfolios regularly, and update the list of Bitcoin ecological crypto assets participating in investment,” Wang writes.
The Bitcoin ecosystem has expanded greatly this year with the invention of Ordinals and Inscriptions, two novel data storage methods that, together, allow users to mint unique digital assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. The market cap of Bitcoin tokens minted on the BRC-20 standard, mirrored after the Ethereum ERC-20 standard, has surpassed $1.4 billion since inception.
Linekong was founded in Beijing in 2007 with a focus on video games and cinema. In 2018, Wang Feng resigned as CEO of Linekong to focus on blockchain, founding several projects in the nonfungible tokens, decentralized finance, and Bitcoin mining space. He returned to Linekong as CEO in 2022 after an invitation from the firm’s board of directors to better integrate Linekong products with Web3.
SEBA Bank approved in Hong Kong
Swiss fintech SEBA Bank has received a license from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
The license permits SEBA Bank to conduct regulated activities in Hong Kong and distribute virtual asset-backed securities, advise on crypto assets, and manage crypto investment accounts on behalf of clients. It also permits SEBA Bank to distribute, manage, and advise on traditional securities, such as stocks.
“Hong Kong has been at the center of the crypto economy since Bitcoin’s inception, and we are very pleased to have added this Hong Kong license with the full approval from the SFC to our existing licenses in Switzerland (FINMA) and Abu Dhabi (FSRA),” comments SEBA Bank CEO Franz Bergmueller. Meanwhile, Amy Yu, the firm’s Asia-Pacific CEO, praised the SFC for creating a “facilitative” environment during the licensing process.
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Zhiyuan Sun is a journalist at Cointelegraph focusing on technology-related news. He has several years of experience writing for major financial media outlets such as The Motley Fool, Nasdaq.com and Seeking Alpha.