China’s anti-crypto onslaught continues, as a prohibition against commercial venues from hosting crypto-related events has been extended to Guangzhou Development District.
Guangzhou Development District is a special economic zone in southern China, close to Hong Kong. The district’s Financial Development Bureau reportedly issued a notice of the new ban August 24, warning of the need to “maintain the security and stability of the financial system.”
As reported last week, the move follows an almost identical ban first imposed upon venues in Beijing’s Chaoyang district in mid-August.
China has this month redoubled its efforts to crackdown on the domestic crypto space. A spate of fresh measures has targeted communication channels and other “loopholes” through which Chinese investors can gain exposure to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading.
On August 21, the 1-billion-user social media platform WeChat permanently blocked a number of high-profile crypto and blockchain-related accounts that were accused of publishing crypto “hype” in violation of regulations introduced earlier this month. WeChat operator Tencent subsequently issued a statement announcing a ban on crypto trading, with other tech giants also following Beijing’s draconian lead.
China’s ‘Google,’ Baidu, has closed at least two popular crypto-related chat forums, with a notice reportedly informing users that the move comes “in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies.”
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba – whose subsidiary Ant Financial runs the popular internet payment app Alipay – has now clarified that it will restrict or permanently ban any accounts it finds to be engaged in crypto trading. On August 24, Alipay had first targeted those accounts using its network to transact in Bitcoin (BTC) over-the-counter (OTC) trades.
On August 24, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) issued its own risk alert against “illegal” ICOs, warning that blockchain and the idea of “financial innovation” are being used to lure investors as a “gimmick” that conceals essentially fraudulent Ponzi schemes.
New measures are also reportedly underway to bolster the “clean-up” of third-party crypto payment channels, including those used for OTC trade. This January, Beijing banned fringe platforms including peer-to-peer (P2P) and OTC resources, tightening a blanket embargo on crypto-to-fiat trading and ICOs in place since September 2017.