President Xi Jinping’s complex relationship with Bitcoin and blockchain, the technology that underpins the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, is playing out in a series of fresh crackdowns in China. Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance and blockchain platform Tron have both been blocked by microblogging platform Weibo, the “Twitter of China”, according to reports by China Times.
Just last week, the Chinese government appeared to soften its stance on crypto mining by removing it from a list of banned activities.
1/ BREAKING Crypto mining is no longer "to be eliminated" in China. Today, the gov't released "Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalogue". Crypto mining, which was listed in the draft in April as an industry to be eliminated, is no longer in the list pending elimination.
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) November 6, 2019
Meanwhile, Xi is pushing for global blockchain dominance following his recent statements in support of the emerging technology and the rollout of a mobile app designed to educate people about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Days ago China’s state-owned media outlet Xinhuanet called Bitcoin the first successful use case of blockchain.
But a new report published by Caixin says a notice called “Developing the Renovation of Virtual Currency Trading Places” reveals that financial regulators in each district of Shanghai will root out any organization facilitating cryptocurrency trading activities or token issuance financing in China.
The directive is designed to squash any speculation stemming from crypto trading and initial coin offerings, which has apparently resurfaced since Xi’s pro-blockchain remarks.
The closed Weibo accounts of Binance and Tron are now deemed to be in violation of laws and regulations and the provisions of the Weibo Community Convention.
However, the Weibo accounts for leading cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi and OKEx currently remain intact.
At the same time, China also appears to be rolling the clock back by partially reviving its anti-crypto stance circa August of 2018 when WeChat issued bans on accounts mentioning Bitcoin, crypto or blockchain. Weibo is now enforcing a ban on content that contains “blockchain” paired with “crypto trading”.