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China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday it will issue the country’s first collection of digital journalistic photos via blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs), “imprinting digital memories into the metaverse.”

Xinhua said in an official notice it plans to issue the 11 photos free of charge online at 8 p.m. local time (1200GMT) on Dec. 24, using the NFT technology – each with limited copies of 10,000.

NFTs are blockchain-based ownership certificates that have gained immense popularity this year, featuring everything from an autographed tweet to paintings.

The move comes even as China has sought to root out cryptocurrencies, also backed by blockchain technologies, by banning trading and mining of digital currencies earlier this year.

Xinhua’s digital collection includes photos that journalists took in 2021 that record historic moments of the year, including the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

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