Beijing photo giant launches nonfungible token (NFT) platform despite China’s crypto ban

Key Takeaways:

  • Visual China Group (VCG), has launched an NFT platform on the Ethereum network
  • VCG is the largest stock photo and video provider in the country
  • The NFT platform is called "Valult by 500px" and is currently on its beta version
Visual China Group (VCG) has launched  an NFT platform on the Ethereum network called "Vault by 500px"
Visual China Group (VCG) has launched an NFT platform called “Vault by 500px”. Credit: Pixabay 

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) – Visual China Group (VCG) has launched an NFT platform on the Ethereum network called “Vault by 500px”. The Beijing-based stock photo and video provider is the latest big entrant into the nonfungible token (NFT) space.

The beta version of the NFT platform went live on Wednesday. It contains just fifteen artworks at the time of writing, nine of which have entered the auctioning round. 

According to reports, the platform is based overseas. The Chinese authorities have banned cryptocurrencies, which collectors need to purchase NFT. By allowing people to pay for collectibles in Ethereum (ETH), the platform defies Chinese authorities. As a result, it has tried to mitigate the risks by launching the platform outside Mainland China.

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The price of the platform’s most expensive NFTs, namely Moon Reflections and Pier 2020 by Madeleine Gross, is 0.71 ETH or $1,337.

VCG became the first image licensing company in China when it went live in 2000. Since 2006, the platform is also the exclusive distribution partner of Getty Images in the country. 

Owing to its large following, Visual China Group acquired the popular photography community website 500px in 2018. With over 20 million global users and about 500,000 contracted artists, VSG will look to leverage the platform for its NFT ambitions

Visual China Group (VCG) enters the gray NFT market

Nonfungible tokens (NFT) remain in the gray area in China. While there is no regulation of NFTs yet, the Government’s cracked down on cryptocurrencies comes with risks.

However, NFTs are not new to China. Many Chinese giants like Alibaba and WeChat have launched NFTs as “digital collectibles” to prevent association with crypto tokens.

In December 2021, VSG had also announced the launch of its digital art platform called “Yuanshijue.” The term translates as “meta-vision” and offered digital collectibles in exchange for the Chinese Yuan instead of cryptocurrencies.

In April 2022, three national financial industry associations in China issued a joint statement about NFTs. The China Internet Finance Association, China Banking Association, and China Securities Association jointly represent a majority of the Chinese banks, brokerages, and fintech companies.  

In the statement, they call on members to exercise caution when trading NFTs.

“Do not directly or indirectly invest in NFT, and do not provide financing support for investing in NFT… Be vigilant and stay away from NFT-related illegal financial activities, and effectively safeguard your property’s safety,” the advisory reads. 

In March, China’s biggest messaging app, WeChat, suspended accounts associated with NFT trades.

By launching a cryptocurrency-based NFT platform, Visual China Group (VCG) is taking a big risk.

Time will tell if the Chinese authorities decide to crack down on “Vault by 500px”. On the other hand, any non-action from the Government might also encourage new companies to use the gray area to their advantage.

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Visual China Group (VCG), Beijing photo giant launches nonfungible token (NFT) platform despite China’s crypto ban

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