As reported by local media outlet Jiemian, the strict ban on ‘promotion’ of cryptocurrencies instituted in Beijing is now being expanded to at least one other district. In the Guangzhou Development District, close to Hong Kong, it is now prohibited to host any crypto related events in commercial venues, whether internal or open to the public.
Guandong Joins Beijing in Crackdown
China has been cracking down hard on crypto since the blanket ban on ICOs and crypto-to-fiat trading in September 2017, but never harder than this month. Since the middle of August, it has been forbidden to host any crypto related events in commercial venues in Beijing.
Authorities cite the need to maintain the security of the financial system, and state that crypto ‘events’ have been used as workarounds to organize illegal ICOs, many of which have turned out to be Ponzi schemes. This is the ban that is now being extended to Guangzhou.
Chinese Companies Following Suit
Nor are these bans the only steps China has taken this last month. By putting pressure on social media and mobile payment platform WeChat with its 700 million users, as well as on Chinese Google rival Baidu, the government has shut down some high profile crypto news publishers and discussion groups, accused of hyping blockchain and cryptocurrencies in violation of new regulations issued this month.
On August 24th e-commerce giant Alibaba, an eBay competitor where users trade among themselves similarly issued a ban on all crypto related trades, and are shutting down any accounts found to be engaging in crypto trading, with the first to be culled being accounts participating in over the counter BTC sales or purchases.
On the same day, the People’ Bank of China (PBoC) issued a warning that the number of Ponzi schemes disguised as crypto projects is on the rise – and fair enough, 2017 and 18 have certainly seen some Ponzi schemes and exit scams. Of course, making it difficult to discuss crypto projects also makes it difficult to find information on which projects may be scams.
Crypto enthusiasts all over the world nonetheless continue to be discouraged by China’s hard stance against crypto. While China in many ways is slowly becoming more like Western countries and is reliant on trade with the rest of the world, it keeps a close watch on innovation at home and is not keen to see its citizens exploring the possibilities of borderless currencies and communication.