This week, after two tumultuous weeks of regulation, the world of Bitcoin turned to Miami and Latin America. Searches for Bitcoin on China’s most popular social media app WeChat settled between 1 million and 3 million per day, in stark contrast to the more than 10 million peak in late May.
Weibo and Baidu withdraw half the force
Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, limited searches to exchanges Binance, Huobi, and OKEx earlier in the week. Usually, large Internet companies operate under the scrutiny of government and party officials, which makes this move somewhat predictable. Keyword filtering is not always the most effective solution, as searching for “download Binance app” still leads users to the link they requested. It is worth noting that the government has limited powers in these cases as most of these major exchanges, especially Binance, are listed in other countries and have a limited physical presence in China.
More effective was the silence of the accounts of crypto-influencers on the Weibo microblogging platform. According to reports from Cointelegraph, at least a dozen accounts have been banned with reports of violating relevant laws and regulations. This could have a more subtle impact on the Chinese crypto community, where influencers are often the main source of information, especially for users who do not have access to traditional Western social media platforms.
Western Province closes the door to miners
On June 9, the regional government in western Xinjiang issued a “warning to immediately suspend virtual currency mining.” The report states that crypto miners must stop production by June 14, June 9, and report the suspension to the local reform commission. This led to a significant decline in the global power of cannabis, with the share of Ant Pool backed by China dropping more than 30%. Last month, a series of regulations were passed against mining companies as China prepares to try to meet its carbon emissions targets. Miners are still using crypto to adapt to the new regulations, and many are heading to more moderate countries such as neighboring Kazakhstan.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it has received more than 300 cryptocurrency applications and exchange licenses. Singapore is a common home for Chinese companies with a thriving fintech sector, but it is still close to the mainland both geographically and culturally. One of the companies that was revealed is the Internet giant Alibaba. Alibaba is back in China under the microscope for its lending practices, so it should come as no surprise that Alibaba and other Chinese companies may want to diversify their financial offerings in other regulatory areas.
Accelerate the pace of change
On June 7, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued guidance on accelerating the adoption of blockchain technology in the industrial sector. It targets 2025 as the year when blockchain should penetrate areas such as supply chain management and traceability for internationally competing firms. This will be of interest to a number of public and private networks that may develop under Chinese law. Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency is in sharp decline, the Chinese government has not given up hope that the blockchain will become an engine of economic growth in the country.
For those looking to better understand China’s ambitions in this field, the government-sponsored Blockchain-based service network hosted a webinar highlighting China’s work on new technologies. Chinese technology experts Winston Ma and Paul Schulte touched on a range of topics, including blockchain technology, central bank digital currencies, and even some of the most contentious geopolitical issues. The same man from Cointelegraph in Shanghai was ready to moderate, and to observe what was happening with impartiality.
On June 8, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority released the “Fintech 2025” strategy to improve research on central bank digital currency. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is working with the National Bank’s Clearing and Settlement Innovation Center to bring CBDCs to the level of detail. This site is an interesting place to see how e-HKD will be similar to e-CNY and what it means for the economic future of the region.