China is continuing its crackdown on cryptocurrencies as Tencent’s WeChat announces the permanent closure of several public accounts for delivering news and updates on the ecosystem.
Accounts Violate China’s Watchdog New Regulations
It’s reported that at least nine accounts have been taken down from WeChat. These include blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused news outlets such as Coindaily, Huobi Zixun, Shenlian, and Caijing, reports Quartz.
The reasoning behind this is because they had violated China’s regulations for its instant-messaging services. However, according to the report, it doesn’t specify what these are. In a separate article from the South China Morning Post, a statement from WeChat notes this was because they were:
…suspected of publishing information related to ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading.
Additionally, earlier this month, hotels, office buildings, and shopping malls were banned in Beijing’s central Chaoyang district from holding events promoting cryptocurrencies, the report adds.
This latest move from WeChat follows on from China’s crackdown which began last September. At the time, the government banned local crypto exchanges and ICOs.
Once a significant player in the market, China’s move has seen mainland investors moving to overseas platforms to continue trading. In February, though, it was reported that authorities were stepping up efforts to remove any onshore and offshore platforms linked to cryptocurrencies.
Notably, while the news of the accounts being blocked by WeChat was a shock, it was also expected. WeChat has become a prominent player in the crypto industry where traders in China can trade and discuss the market. With over one billion users monthly users, a vast majority are based in China.
However, according to Wang Peng, founder of Shenlian, a “tightening up” was sensed half a month ago, adding:
[We] have prepared for it, but we weren’t able to escape it. This is the beginning of Shenlian and our chance. We will be 100 times better than what we are now.
China has had a somewhat difficult relationship with the crypto industry. In March, the SCMP notes that the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, accused blockchain-related news outlets of promoting ICOs and manipulating crypto prices.
It’s thought that the next area of the cryptocurrency ecosystem hit will be apps; however, that remains to be seen. For now, though, even though China doesn’t want retail investors to get involved with cryptocurrencies, the market continues, albeit down from its previous highs.
Yet, despite Chain’s crackdown, the crypto industry remains. This just goes to show that while China was a prominent player, it wasn’t the lifeline to it.
What do you think of China’s move to block crypto and blockchain accounts on WeChat? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image from Shutterstock.