New sales to the public of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are now halted on the Tencent platform Huanhe as regulatory scrutiny in China intensifies.
Owners of existing collectibles can hold and display the NFTs they currently own or request a refund, Reuters reported.
“Based on the company’s consideration to focus on its core strategy, Huanhe is making adjustments to its business,” Tencent said in a statement, per the report.
Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment by PYMNTS.
Year-old Huanhe ranks among the largest NFT platforms in China, and many new collectibles sell out as soon as they are introduced, according to the report.
NFT speculation in China has repeatedly come under the microscope by state media, with Tencent and Ant Group deciding to sign an agreement two months ago to stop the secondary trading of digital collectibles. It’s not clear what will happen to the Huanhe brand, the report stated.
Chinese tech giants that have moved into NFTs were careful to use the term “digital collectibles” to sidestep any association with cryptocurrencies, which are banned in China, according to the report.
China banned cryptocurrency trading and mining in 2021, but questions over the uncategorized NFT market were left unanswered.
Tencent announced in July that it was preparing to close down Huanhe due to the Chinese government’s ban on secondary digital collectible markets.
NFTs on the Huanhe app were reportedly sold out in July, although the site was still letting users view the work of augmented reality artists.