Internet Regulators in China Block Access to Social Media Accounts of Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms

In what is yet another entry in the continuing narrative of severe cryptocurrency crackdowns in China, internet regulators in the country have blocked access to the social media accounts of some cryptocurrency exchange platforms. This is another drastic decision being taken by a country that seems intent on prohibiting the cryptocurrency market within its borders. In September of last year, a ban was placed on ICOs as well as cryptocurrency exchange platforms.

This was then followed by a series of measures designed to block all remaining access points to ICOs and cryptocurrency exchange services.

No Longer on WeChat

According to a report that appeared on Caixin, a Chinese media group on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, the accounts of some cryptocurrency exchanges on WeChat has been blocked. WeChat is the largest social media platform in all of China and probably the world, with over 1 billion users per month.

In the wake of the increasing regulatory measures by the government, many cryptocurrency exchange platforms moved their operations to Hong Kong as well as a number of overseas territories. However, these platforms still offered services to Chinese residents if they could find a way to access them.

Being the wiser to the new tactic, regulators in China who are reportedly looking to leave no stone unturned have acted to block the access of the Chinese public to these platforms. OKEx is one of the platforms whose WeChat account has been blocked. After the ICO ban, OKEx was one of the platforms that moved its operations overseas but still used the WeChat platform as a means to communicate with Chinese customers.

As a consequence of the block, there is even no access to the platform’s previously posted content on WeChat. Any attempt to read such previously posted contents reveals a notification which says that the OKEx account has been blocked due to its violations of relevant laws and regulations.

The Not So Great Firewall of China

There has been a considerable tightening of official oversight on avenues through which Chinese residents can access cryptocurrency services. WeChat for their part has refuted any government interference as the cryptocurrency censorship is more in keeping with the existing narrative of the country’s stance against cryptocurrency.

With Chinese authorities keen to block internet access to the cryptocurrency platforms, people have begun calling it another application of the “Great Firewall of China.”

While the actual Great Wall of China was successful in keeping invaders away from the ancient Chinese dynasties, its digital counterpart hasn’t been all that successful. Chinese citizens are reportedly still finding new ways to circumvent the cryptocurrency restrictions placed by the government.

Even without the use of VPNs or other IP-masking protocols, local Chinese residents are still able to access foreign cryptocurrency platforms like Binance, Huobi, and OKEx. In response, there have been renewed calls for the IP addresses of foreign cryptocurrency platforms to be blocked. At present, the WeChat account of a number of foreign cryptocurrency platforms are still active.

Feature image by Walid Beno

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