Digital Collections Are Popular. Is It "tuyere" Or "cutting Leeks"?

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"Selling is instant", "buying is instant profit", "second-hand transactions can be speculated to nearly 100000 yuan"... Recently, digital collections that "can be seen but not touched" have been popular. Xinhua Daily Telegraph reporter found that there was a hidden fire behind the hot speculation, and there were hidden dangers such as transaction risk, illegal currency speculation and intellectual property infringement. Insiders suggested that to prevent the digital collection market from "rushing" with problems, we should make technology better serve art through benign supervision and industrial regulation.

The price is over 100 times, and there is a false fire hidden in the digital collection transaction

Recently, digital collection transactions have frequently attracted attention: the Bing Dwen Dwen digital blind box officially authorized by the International Olympic Committee was sold out at $99 each, and once again "one trick is hard to find"; The first social digital collection of Qi Baishi's original painting "a group of shrimps" was held at the Shanghai Jiahe auction, and was finally hammered at 300000 yuan; NFT works of American digital artist beeple sold for about $69million at Christie's auction

The full name of NFT is non-functional token, also known as non-homogeneous token. Among them, the field of digital collections is one of the fastest application scenarios for NFT.

Many digital collections such as ordinary mosaic portraits, pictures and videos are frequently sold at high prices. On opensea, the world's largest NFT trading platform, it is not uncommon for a single digital collection to be sold for millions of dollars.

"At present, there is no final conclusion about what a digital collection is. It usually refers to the digital art works published on the blockchain and the digital collection platform after using the blockchain technology to obtain the unique identification that cannot be tampered with." Yujianing, executive director of yuancosmos Industry Committee of China Mobile Communications Federation, said.

Yujianing said: "Blockchain technology does not directly change the content of art works, but it can generate a unique logo, which can be understood as a non modifiable property right certificate. It usually makes digital collections unique, authentic and traceable, like adding 'added value' and solving the key pain points of digital art transactions. In addition, various capital inflows and platforms have sprung up, and the market heat is rising."

According to incomplete statistics by the reporter, there are more than 100 platforms that issue digital collections in China, and these platforms "play" in the same way. The ways to obtain digital collections include pre-sale, auction, lottery, blind box opening, synthesis, new user registration, etc. Most of the pre-sale prices of digital collections are "people-friendly": users can rush to buy them at a few to several hundred yuan, and "second light" has become the norm.

The reporter joined a number of social groups with more than 1000 people engaged in digital collection trading. Some people roll out the list of digital collections launched every day; Some people provided reporters with software to snap up newly released digital collections. The software can "spike" the newly released collection at a precise time point. The price is 200 yuan.

At the same time, the second-hand transaction of digital collections with "low price" in the first place is "false fire". At present, different digital collection platforms have different regulations on second-hand transactions: for example, the phantom core platform does not allow secondary transactions; Whale detection platform allows users to transfer gifts; On more platforms, users can sell the collection for the second time by themselves, pricing and trading freely. The platform extracts several to more than ten percentage points of transaction fees, copyright fees and cash withdrawal fees from each transaction.

In social networks, the price of some second-hand digital collections has been "hyped" more than a hundred times: someone offered nearly 10000 yuan to buy the "Hangzhou Asian Games digital torch" with a distribution price of 39 yuan; A single Dunhuang digital collection with a distribution price of 19.9 yuan was sold for more than 15000 yuan; On several platforms, the second-hand price of some digital collections was even speculated to nearly 100000 yuan.

Although the price is falsely high, the copyright of some digital collections is quite limited. Magic core, magic collection, unique art and other platforms stipulate that "the intellectual property rights of digital collections are owned by the issuer and other obligees" or "unless the obligee of digital art agrees in writing, digital art shall not be used for any commercial purpose other than transfer".

Many players told reporters that they did not care about the artistic value and copyright of their works. "The main reason is that the prices of some collections are rising rapidly. Buying low, selling high and not holding fast. Making money is the 'King way'.".

A person who invested millions of yuan to speculate on digital collections said: "at present, some makers have adopted the method of crowdfunding to speculate on collections on some platforms. Some platforms will contact the makers after they find out, help the makers to buy at a lower price, and then release good news to the outside world. Together with the makers, they will push up the price, and finally let users take over the offer."

"Even if you don't engage in hype, you can make a profit by opening a single platform." The person in charge of a digital collection platform development company told the reporter that the price of developing a digital collection client now only needs about 30000 yuan. If the collection is distributed on an overseas blockchain platform, it hardly needs any cost.

He also told reporters: "you spend thousands of yuan a month to hire art workers to paint. Even if the initial price of a painting is set at 20 yuan, 2000 copies will be issued, and the immediate income will be 40000 yuan, which will bring back the capital quickly."

Dingfeipeng, director of Beijing Linktone law firm, said that the revenue of some domestic digital collection platforms partly depends on the issuance cost and partly on the transaction cost. "From the perspective of profit seeking, the platform has no incentive to restrict the issuance and transaction behavior in addition to avoiding the compliance risk, which also contributes to the hype.".

It is necessary to cross several "ridges" to reach the "air outlet"

According to the reporter's investigation, there is still a gap in the current supervision and legal regulation related to digital collections, and digital collections need to cross many "barriers" to get on the "wind".

There are many "pits" in the transaction. On the black cat complaint platform, there were more than 1000 complaints related to digital collections, including forced sales, non delivery, cash withdrawal failure to reach the account, etc.

Mr. Ma from Zhejiang, who previously sold a second-hand digital collection on the only art platform for 55000 yuan, was forced to sell it at the "cabbage price" of 5 yuan, which could not be revoked. A number of users said that their collections worth tens of thousands of yuan were forced to sell by tens of thousands of yuan.

The platform replied in the complaint platform that the user agreement clearly stated that "the platform operator shall not be responsible for the loss of interest or profit caused by your use of the digital art e-commerce platform under any circumstances".

Mr. Li from Hubei said that he had tried to withdraw the account balance of more than 10000 yuan on a digital collection platform. The platform rules also promise that the refund will arrive on the "t+1" day, but after a period of time, the relevant refund has not arrived, and attempts to contact the customer service personnel have not received a reply.

The security issues of digital collection platform transactions have also emerged. In April, an artist posted on social media that the digital collection of his previously donated ape head paintings had been stolen by phishing websites.

After that, on foreign NFT trading platforms, the Avatar was traded with 130 Ethereum and 155 Ethereum virtual currencies respectively in about one hour.

There is also a phenomenon of "willful" combination with overseas blockchain platforms. The reporter found that some digital collection platforms still use Ethereum, polygon, Huo coin ecological chain and other overseas blockchain technologies to "link" digital collections. Relevant people told the reporter that the process of "uploading" the pictures to the overseas block chain platform is very simple. After uploading the pictures directly, a string of digital strings can be obtained in a few seconds, representing the success of "uploading".

The technical director of a domestic digital collection platform said that the digital collections "linked" by using the overseas blockchain technology could theoretically be traded, mortgaged and replaced with virtual currencies on the overseas virtual currency trading platform.

"This means that some people can buy digital collections through RMB, convert them into virtual currency, and then convert them into foreign currency in countries and regions where virtual currency transactions are legal. There is a risk of using digital collections for virtual currency transactions and money laundering." He said. In September last year, the central bank issued a relevant notice saying that "virtual currency related business activities are illegal financial activities" and "there are legal risks in participating in virtual currency investment and trading activities".

The risk of intellectual property infringement is gradually emerging. On May 28, Xu Beihong Art Museum issued a statement that it was concerned that some digital platforms sold relevant digital collections in the name of Mr. Xu Beihong. Some of the original works of these digital collections were counterfeit works, some could not provide complete traceability evidence, and some works were not related to Mr. Xu Beihong at all.

On April 20, Hangzhou Internet court announced a case of intellectual property infringement involving NFT. The plaintiff qice company found that on the "yuanuniverse" platform operated by a technology company of the defendant, a user released the NFT of "fat tiger vaccination" at a price of 899 yuan. The NFT digital work is completely consistent with the illustrated works released by Ma Qianli on his microblog, and even the author's microblog watermark is still carried in the lower right corner. The defendant not only failed to perform the audit obligation, but also charged a certain proportion of transaction fees.

The Hangzhou Internet court ruled that the defendant immediately deleted the NFT work "fat tiger vaccination" published on the platform involved in the case, and compensated qice company 4000 yuan.

"The trial of intellectual property infringement cases is inherently difficult to identify. Although domestic platforms currently use a large number of relatively autonomous and controllable alliance chain technologies, if a large number of works apply for 'online' in the future, the platform may not be able to accurately determine whether all works infringe or not." Said panhelin, CO director of the Research Center for digital economy and financial innovation of the International United Business School of Zhejiang University.

Pan Helin said that, on the other hand, most blockchain technologies used by overseas NFT platforms are open "public chains", which are more completely anonymous, de neutral and difficult to tamper with. If no one reviews the source and ownership of "linked" works, it is almost impossible to revoke or delete infringing Digital Collections.

Prevent NFT from becoming the "new favorite" of illegal activities

Recently, China Internet Finance Association, China Banking Association and China Securities Association issued an initiative calling on member units to resolutely curb the tendency of NFT to finance and securitize and strictly prevent the risk of illegal financial activities.

The three associations have made requirements for member units to participate in NFT projects from the aspects of issuing financial products, providing trading services, public offering and financing, pricing and settlement, real name certification, investment and financing, etc., in order to cut off the secondary trading link of NFT.

Experts said that although the state has clear provisions on the risk prevention of virtual currency, there are still deficiencies in the formulation of regulatory rules for virtual assets and derivatives such as digital collections. Relevant departments urgently need to increase exploration and Research on NFT supervision, issue relevant laws and regulations as soon as possible, and avoid illegal acts such as malicious speculation of NFT products and fund-raising fraud by borrowing NFT concepts.

Dingfeipeng believes that there should be a boundary for the "decentralization" of digital collection platforms, and the combination of domestic platforms with overseas "public chains" should be prevented.

Wujunjie, a digital economy researcher at the blockchain Development Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen), believes that, The digital collection platform shall strictly implement the principle that "virtual currency shall not be used as or in disguised form as a pricing and settlement tool for issuance transactions, and it is prohibited to provide services such as centralized transaction, listing transaction and standardized contract transaction to NFT. The issuing, selling and purchasing entities of the digital collection platform shall be forced to carry out real name authentication, properly keep the customer's identity information and issuance transaction records, and actively cooperate with the anti money laundering work".

"You can't make everything NFT." Pan Helin suggested that the market supervision department and the culture and tourism department could take the lead in formulating relevant laws and regulations, and clarify the attributes of digital collections, platform access, business norms and other criteria by referring to the regulations on art business management.

According to wujunjie, the digital collection platform should formulate relevant systems for the ownership and source review of "up chain" assets, including data requirements for ownership review, review standards, complaint handling rules and procedures for intellectual property disputes, daily monitoring and handling mechanisms for intellectual property protection, etc.

"Through the establishment and implementation of the system, the platform will not become an accomplice and place for the infringing distribution of pirated and inferior products." He said.

"To control the hype in the digital collection market, we need to build healthy platform trading rules to solve it." Hu Jie, a practice professor at Shanghai Advanced Finance School of Shanghai Jiaotong University, said.

Experts suggest that the platform should make it clear to users in the user agreement and prominent position that the platform prohibits any form of speculation, and set a ceiling price range, restrict OTC trading, prevent financial leverage and other anti speculation mechanisms. In addition, the digital collection platforms can also strengthen communication and establish industry self-discipline standards.

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