Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent block cryptocurrency-related activities on their platforms amid Beijing’s intensifying crackdown on digital money.
BAT take quick actions
China’s top three tech companies, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent known as BAT in China, are moving fast to keep pace with regulators amid Beijing’s latest crackdown on cryptocurrencies.
Baidu, China’s Google, has shut down some of its popular cryptocurrency-related online chat rooms, including “Digital Currency Bar” and “Virtual Currency Bar.” A notice showed “in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies”, the online forums are temporarily closed. A spokeswoman for Baidu declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, Tencent and Alibaba have said that they are cracking down on any transactions related to virtual money on their mobile payment services.
Tencent issued a statement saying that the company will ban cryptocurrency trading on its social app WeChat. They will use various measures including real-time monitoring of daily transactions and blocking suspicious transactions when necessary.
Similarly, Alibaba-controlled Ant Financial said that it will restrict or ban accounts on its internet-payment platform Alipay when they are found to involve cryptocurrency trades.
Both Alibaba and Tencent declined to specify how they monitor cryptocurrency trading.
Warn against illegal cryptocurrency fundraising
On last Friday, five top-level Chinese regulators – including the central bank and the ministry of public security – issued a warning against illegal fundraising activities involving “blockchain” and “virtual currency.”
Specifically, the official notice warned citizens against cryptocurrency trades through online chat services and offshore exchanges, as well as cryptocurrency-related investment tools that promise high returns and low risks and promoted by internet celebrities.
“Such activities are a gimmick of ‘financial innovation’ but Ponzi schemes in the essence,” the notice said.