Crypto accounts on one of China’s biggest social media networks have been shut down amidst a fresh wave of crackdowns from the platform. WeChat, which boasts over 1 billion Chinese users, said it shut the accounts of members who were suspected of publishing ICOs and hyping up crypto trading – two things which are prohibited on the platform.
China is well known for its sudden crackdowns on crypto firms, and this appears to be the latest attack on the industry. Despite the numerous bans in China, blockchain and crypto activity continues to soar. Trade volumes from China are increasing daily and even the total Bitcoin Network hash rate coming from Chinese mining firms is growing.
Top Influencers Taken Out
Back in February, a list was compiled of the top 50 blockchain and cryptocurrency influencers in China. It appears as if WeChat has simply gone through this list and banned accounts belonging to these companies. Amongst those to be blocked include Wujie Blockchain, Deepchain, Huobi News, and CoinDaily. The apparent correlation between the influencer’s list and the bans will have companies on the updated list slightly worried, as it appears to have become a WeChat hit list more than anything else.
China is a Confusing Market
Trying to understand and predict what is coming next for blockchain and crypto in China is a bit of an uphill battle. On the one hand you have the government banning crypto activity, while companies like WeChat are shutting down crypto related accounts. However, on the other hand you have Bitcoin mining giants such as Bitmain applying for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. If blockchain was so evil and illegal as the government appears to make out, then companies like Bitmain wouldn’t control so much of the total Bitcoin network hash rate, or be applying for an IPO.
Interestingly, with Bitmain applying for an IPO rather than an ICO, it could imply that it has some form of government backing and therefore is required to use traditional routes for additional financing. Other mining firms in China have been raided and closed down, so it certainly is surprising that Bitmain is still operating in such an anti-crypto enviroment.
Ripple Trying to Turn China
While Ripple gets an incredible amount of stick in the west – just look at what happened when it announced Bill Clinton as a keynote speaker at its Swell conference – it is overwhelmingly popular in Asia for some reason. A large number of banks are beginning to use Ripple’s xRapid platform to speed up cross-border transactions, and many of these are anti-crypto – much like China. In addition to this, the crypto community believes Ripple is a security rather than a cryptocurrency – although Jonathan Galea believes the opposite – meaning it could prove popular in anti-crypto China. It recently signed a deal with LianLian International – a Hangzhou based financial institution – to power its cross-border payments, a sign that Ripple is trying its very best to persuade the Red Dragon that crypto can be a good thing.
It remains to be seen whether the Chinese government will eventually create their own crypto regulations, which could lead to a warm embrace for blockchain. However, a popular TV station – China Central Television – said that blockchain is 10x more valuable than the web, meaning that Chinese crypto regulations might not be far off. In addition to this, China is suffering from a trade war with the US and it could take a leaf out of Venezuela’s book and create a state-owned cryptocurrency to circumvent any related sanctions.