China’s social media giant bans cryptocurrency related accounts

WeChat, leading social media messaging and mobile payment application in China, has banned original content related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in China.

The social media giant of China has permanently banned several accounts which mainly focus on content about blockchain and cryptocurrency. The main reason for the ban is stated to be the promotion of ICOs and cryptocurrency trading. This stands against the recent law passed by the Chinese government.

WeChat is an application developed by Tencent, a Chinese multi-national investment firm. The application is recorded to be one of world’s largest social media platform which has more than 1 billion active users on a monthly basis. In China, the app is popularly known as the application for everything. This is because of the wide range of services available on the platform. It is also recorded to be one of the most powerful applications in the world by Forbes.

In the month of September 2017, People’s Bank of China [PBoC] released a circulation imposing a ban on Initial Coin Offerings [ICOs] and fiat-to-crypto trading in the county. Along with this, individuals and businesses were also required to refrain from starting a fundraising activity for ‘illegal tokens’. All the mobile application and websites related to cryptocurrency were shut down by the telecommunication department and cyberspace administration of the country. The State Administration of Industry and Commerce revoked all the licenses issued to business operating in the same field.

The ban led to the major cryptocurrency exchanges re-locating their base. This included leading exchange platforms like OKEx, BTCC, a Bitcoin exchange platform and Huobi.

Moreover, the government released a set of rules for instant messaging applications. It was called ‘Interim Provisions on the Development Management of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools’ [Transalated from Mandarin]. One of the articles out of 10 articles states that users who are availing the service of a messaging application which is solely used for providing information to the public are required to abide by the rules and regulation laid down by the government.

It also mentioned that if the user fails to abide by the rule then the messaging service provider has the complete authority to take action against the user. This could include issuing a warning, imposing a restriction, suspending the user from the social media platform and banning them altogether for availing the services.

In addition, the application has been previously accused of removing content which was related to China’s politics and human abuses. The mobile app was also launched in Malaysia.

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