On Wednesday the official Xinhua news agency said that it will issue a digital media photo collection through NFTS (non-fungible tokens), a first for China and an upsurge for the blockchain technology that supports them and that Beijing has earlier criticized.

Regarded as digitized ownership certificates, NFTs have earned fame across the globe this year, emerging as everything from paintings to autographed tweet.

But the bond of China with the technology behind NFTs, which also backs cryptos, is a complicated one. The state news agency’s broadcast would recommend official support for non-fungible tokens, but last month party mouthpiece People’s Daily criticized them as a likely fraud.

In an official notice, Xinhua said that it thought to issue the 11 pictures, all taken during 2021 by journalists, free of cost at 8:00 pm (1200 GMT) on December 24, each in a limited edition of ten thousand copies.

Including a picture honoring the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the collection will ‘imprint digital memories into the metaverse’. Cryptos including bitcoin are regarded as the natural mode of payment in the metaverse, but Beijing has put an end to them as a possible channel for money laundering and unlawful capital flows and commanded a blanket ban of mining and trading of virtual currencies in September.