Three of the largest technology companies in China including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are reportedly terminating all cryptocurrency related activities on their platforms. Baidu has shut down all its popular cryptocurrency related chat rooms while Tencent and Alibaba have also banned accounts that are involved in transactions related to cryptocurrencies across their mobile payment services. These actions have been taken after the Chinese government intensified its crackdown against digital currencies.

China’s efforts to curb cryptocurrencies

China started its campaign against cryptocurrencies in September 2017. It initially banned domestic exchanges and initial coin offerings and later foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. Popular cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bitfinex, Binance and Huobi have been banned. A total of 88 cryptocurrency exchanges and 85 ICO projects in China have been shut down since September 2017. Eight online media outlets which focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain were recently banned by Chinese censor authorities. Their official public accounts on WeChat were also blocked due to violations against local regulations. Hotels in Beijing have been banned from hosting events that promote or endorse cryptocurrencies. Chinese authorities will block access to 124 offshore cryptocurrency exchanges. They will also continue to monitor and shutdown websites related to cryptocurrency trading, ICOs and payment services that accept digital tokens.

Chinese Internet giants turn anti crypto

Baidu Tieba is a Chinese communication platform and online forum service, owned by Baidu. Various cryptocurrency related chat rooms on Tieba including ‘Virtual Currency Bar’ and ‘Digital Currency Bar’ were recently shut down. Tencent intends to ban cryptocurrency trading on WeChat Pay using real time monitoring of transactions and blocking suspicious transactions where applicable. Alibaba controlled Ant Financial will start banning accounts on its payment platform Alipay if they are found to be involved in cryptocurrency trading. A warning was issued by the central bank and the ministry of public security on August 24, 2018. The official notice warned citizens against cryptocurrency trading through offshore exchanges and online chat services. WeChat, Weibo and Baidu are also under investigation in China for alleged violations of cyber security laws. The official notice and the scrutiny by Chinese authorities may have prompted these actions by tech giants.

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