China Struggles with Cryptocurrency Regulation
In a news report on Sunday, China Times reported that Baidu has moved against forum topics that discuss crypto. Baidu is China’s largest search engine. The move makes Baidu the latest Chinese tech giant to ban crypto–related activities following an official government directive. Alibaba and Tencent, also Chinese-based tech companies, restrict the promotion of crypto-related content on their platforms.
Since September last year, China has initiated a vicious campaign banning the use and promotion of crypto. To survive in the country, the tech companies have made efforts to distance themselves from the latest financial innovation.
The Beijing-based financial news outlet China Times cites an anonymous source close to Baidu who says that, “Currently, the company has toughened its scrutiny over digital currency and will not allow sub-forums under such theme, based on relevant rules and regulations.”
Cyberspace Administration of China
So far, according to reports coming from China, the government has shut down at least eight crypto-related online media outlets. The campaign intensified when the pressure on the messaging app WeChat culminated in shut-down of accounts. The regulations target accounts that peddle blockchain-related news. Similarly, in the same spirit, the government has gone after service providers who accept digital money. According to South China Morning Post, some districts have begun issuing ban notices of digital money. As per the reports, the notices direct “hotels, office buildings and shopping malls” against hosting crypto-related events.
Further, reports indicate that the Cyberspace Administration of China has moved against 124 websites that link to crypto exchanges. The authority blocks access to crypto-related websites. The move is aimed at ensuring that the exchanges do not offer their trading services to people within the Chinese borders.
Toeing the Official Line
In closing of crypto-related accounts, Tencent, Baidu and other firms have cited the new regulations by the government. Speaking to Coindesk, a representative for Baidu said that “the company will operate and manage its forum business based on existing Chinese laws and regulations.”
However, some companies have cried foul and have accused the government for stifling innovation. This month, after reports emerged that Huobi’s account had been closed on WeChat, it reacted angrily. The world’s fourth largest crypto exchange by trade volume termed the move by the government a “broad action targeting industrial media.”
Other companies like Tencent and Alibaba have said that the closure of accounts is in line with new regulations.