This week, after a few tumultuous weeks of regulation, the attention of the Bitcoin world has shifted to Miami and Latin America. Bitcoin’s searches for China’s most popular social media app, WeChat, stabilized at between 1 and 3 million per day, a marked difference from peaks of over 10 million seen in late May.
Weibo and Baidu unplug halfway
Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, narrowed down searches on Binance, Huobi and OKEx exchanges earlier this week. Typically, large internet companies work under the watchful eye of government and party officials, which makes this move somewhat overdue. Keyword filtering is not always the most effective solution, as searches on “Binance App Download” would always bring users to the requested link. It should be noted that the government has limited authority in these cases since most of these large exchanges, especially Binance, are registered in other countries and have a limited physical presence in China.
More effective has been the silence of cryptocurrency influencer accounts on the Weibo microblogging platform. According to reports in Cointelegraph, at least a dozen accounts were suspended with a message saying they had violated relevant laws and guidelines. This can have a much more serious impact on the Chinese cryptocurrency community, as influencers are often a primary source of information, especially for users who do not access traditional Western social media platforms.
Western province closes door on miners
On June 9, a western Xinjiang district government issued a “Notice of Immediate Suspension of Virtual Currency Mining Enterprises.” The report announced that companies engaged in digital currency mining must stop production by 2 p.m. on June 9 and report the suspension to a local reform commission. This resulted in a significant drop in global hash power, with a China-backed ant pool dropping by more than 30%. The past month has seen a slew of regulations against mining companies as China prepares to try to meet its carbon emissions targets. Miners are still struggling to adapt to new regulations, with many heading to more lenient countries like neighboring Kazakhstan.
In it for technology
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it has received more than 300 requests for crypto payments and exchange licenses. Singapore is a common place of residence for Chinese companies as it is home to a thriving FinTech sector but remains close to the mainland, both in terms of geography and cultural ties. One of the companies disclosed was internet giant Alibaba. Alibaba has come under the microscope in China for its lending practices, so it’s no surprise that Alibaba and other Chinese companies want to diversify their financial offerings into other regulatory regions.
Accelerate the pace of change
On June 7, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released guidelines on accelerating the application of blockchain technology in the industrial sector. He targeted 2025 as the year when blockchain is expected to enter areas such as supply chain management and traceability for internationally competitive businesses. This will interest a number of public and private channels capable of developing within the limits of the Chinese regulatory framework. Despite a strong backlash from the cryptocurrency, the Chinese government has not backed down from its hopes that blockchain will be an engine of economic growth in the country.
For those looking to better understand China’s ambitions in this area, government-backed BSN hosted a webinar on China’s efforts in emerging technologies. Chinese tech experts Winston Ma and Paul Schulte have covered a number of topics, including blockchain, central bank digital currencies, and even some more controversial geopolitical issues. The Cointelegraph man in Shanghai himself was on hand to moderate, keeping an impartial eye on things.
Bank on it
On June 8, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority released a “Fintech 2025” strategy to improve research on a central bank digital currency. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is working with the innovation hub of the National Settlement and Clearing Bank to bring central bank digital currency to the retail level. This area is an interesting space to watch to see how e-HKD will be similar to e-CNY, and what this means for the region’s financial future.