China has closed numerous news accounts related to the blockchain on the WeChat social app and has banned hotels in central Beijing hosting events that promote cryptocurrencies, in a renewed crackdown on digital money-related activities.
At least eight blockchain and online media focused on cryptocurrency – some of which raised several million dollars in venture capital – have found their official public accounts on WeChat stranded Tuesday night due to violations against new regulations by of the main Chinese guard dog.
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Tencent, operator of WeChat, stated in a statement that he had definitively closed these accounts because "he is suspected of publishing information about ICO [initial coin offerings] and speculations about criptovalute trading ". issued earlier this month by the administration of Chinese cyberspace, which, among other things, requires more scathing content within chat apps that conform to "national interests" and "public orders" ".
Separately, Beijing's central Chaoyang district issued a communication on August 17 that bans hotels, office buildings and shopping centers in the area from hosting events promoting cryptocurrencies. The document was leaked online this week and confirmed by South China Morning Post with the local authority
A staff member with Chaoyang's financial authority said that the & # 39; warning was triggered by a local event organized by a foreign cryptocurrency exchange last week, and is limited to the district in question.
The two incidents are the latest examples of China's continued crackdown on cryptocurrencies, which began last September with the prohibition of exchanges of local cryptocurrencies and ICO, an unregulated crowd-gathering method involved with cryptocurrencies and often associated with scams. Despite government initiatives on the adoption of the blockchain, the central government has made clear that it does not want retail investors to be involved in cryptocurrencies due to concerns about financial stability.
Blockchain The media have established themselves despite the prohibitions of cryptocurrency niche in providing investors with timely information on the prices of cryptocurrencies and reviews on projects related to blockchain. Just like other Chinese news services, these platforms rely on WeChat to reach audiences regardless of apps and websites. The accounts blocked on WeChat come from some of the most popular blockchain news platforms, including Jinse Caijing and Huobi News, whose apps and sites are still running.
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In his statement, Huobi, based in Beijing, which also manages one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has recognized the closure of its news accounts as "a broad action targeted at industrial media". Jinse Caijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment  Blockchain news platforms attracted venture capital funding in China. Jingse Caijing, which began in 2016 and now boasts 350,000 unique visitors per day, has raised over 8 million yuan ($ 1.2 million) from Node Capital, based in Beijing, in a pre-series A round last August. Also stuck on WeChat is Shenlian Caijing, who was founded at the start of this year by several veteran Chinese journalists and raised 10 million yuan from angel investors including Plum Ventures and Dfund.
An important source of revenue for this news services are content paid by projects related to the blockchain. Jingse Caijing publishes more than 200 articles a day. A featured article on the site, for example, cost 12 ethereum, which is currently valued at around $ 3,500.
In March, a commentary published by the website of People & # 39; s Daily, the spokesperson of the Communist Party, accused the creation of articles to manipulate the prices of cryptocurrencies and promote ICO projects. "These" media "have made huge fortunes in the speculative waves of cryptocurrencies, but because of their nature, it is doubtful how long their barbaric growth can continue," according to the commentary