Chinese Using NFTs to Protect and Share Censored Data

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • Chinese web users are uploading censored video and audio as NFTs
  • Voices of Shanghai features complaints and cries for help from Shanghai citizens during the most recent lockdown
  • Censors have been removing such clips from social media

One of the criticisms of NFTs is the lack of use cases further than enriching lucky early buyers, but Chinese nationals have shown just what can be done with the technology – they are using the format to protect and share censored information, images, and data. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that a movement has sprung up in China to combat the increased removal of social media content during the pandemic, with web users turning to NFTs in order to preserve social-media posts and other images, videos, audio relating their experience.

‘Voices of April’ Preserving Shanghai Experience

The Journal reports that in April a six-minute video clip called “Voices of April” briefly went viral on Chinese social media before censors deleted it, a video that appeared to be a number of audio recordings of conversations and cries for help from Shanghai residents during its second lockdown this year.

In order to preserve the video it has been turned into an NFT by multiple users and now even appears in various formats on OpenSea with prices a fraction of an ETH in order to increase traction. The pieces, which number some 250, appear under various collections around the name Voices of April:

Move Echoes Apple Daily Preservation

The use of NFTs to preserve censored information echoes the actions of the supporters of pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily which was shut down by Chinese censors when it tightened its grip on the province. This led to volunteers rushing to upload Apple Daily’s catalogue of tens of thousands of articles to Arweave before they could be destroyed by authorities.