Chinese Marketplace BigVerse Found Guilty of Minting NFTs From Stolen Artwork

By | April 27, 2022



A court in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou held NFTCN’s parent company, BigVerse, accountable for allowing a user to mint NFTs from stolen artwork.

In a landmark judgment, the court accused the Chinese digital art trading platform of failing to ensure whether the user minting the NFT was, in fact, the rightful owner of the artwork.

NFT Artwork Theft

According to the report by South China Morning Post, the court ruled that NFTCN was at fault for allowing the infringement of the owner’s “right to disseminate works through information networks.”

The lawsuit against BigVerse was filed by Shenzhen-based company, Qice. The plaintiff stated that a user at the NFTCN marketplace listed a non-fungible token with an artwork featuring a cartoon tiger receiving a vaccine shot created by artist Ma Qianli. The cartoon picture was sold by an anonymous user for $137, the report said.

To compensate for the loss, BigVerse was ordered to pay Qice a fine of  $611 and stop the NFT from being circulated by sending it to an “eater address,” which is essentially a crypto wallet with no private key.

The court argued that BigVerse is responsible for overseeing user actions that violate other clients’ rights since it directly profits from such transactions. It further suggested that the NFT marketplace should set up a copyright vetting mechanism to look into the artworks uploaded by users on its platform.

The latest development comes less than a month after the popular Chinese messaging app – WeChat  – announced suspending a few accounts linked to NFTs to prevent speculation in the digital assets.

China’s NFT Ecosystem

Despite Chinese regulators’ distaste for cryptocurrency trading and mining operations, the NFT digital art market has been bustling.

So far, the country has permitted NFTs but banned individuals from speculating and trading them. Tech goliaths such as Alibaba, Tencent, and JD, have come up with their own initiatives that allow users to purchase and collect NFTs. However, they are barred from trading or reselling their purchases.

As reported earlier, China’s state-backed blockchain infrastructure Blockchain Services Network (BSN) announced plans to launch NFTs. In a bid to accelerate such adoption, BSN teamed up with Neo to create a permissionless chain – Jiuquan.

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