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China’s Crypto Crackdown Escalates: Weibo Takes Action, Banning 80 Prominent Cryptocurrency Influencers

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The Accounts of 80 Cryptocurrency Influencers Removed from Popular Chinese Social Media App

The accounts of 80 popular cryptocurrency influencers, each with more than 8 million followers, have been removed from one of China’s most popular social media apps, as Beijing maintains its tight grip over crypto activities.

Violation of Regulations

  • The Weibo accounts had breached eight regulations in China covering areas such as marketing, internet safety, telecommunications, trade, and finance.
  • Weibo Finance stated this in a statement on Tuesday.

Continued Crackdown on Crypto Speculation

The account suspensions follow a major nationwide crackdown on crypto speculation in August 2022.

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered the removal of 12,000 crypto-related accounts on websites including Weibo and search engine Baidu.
  • 51,000 social media posts promoting virtual assets were also removed.

Strengthening Crackdown on Illegal Securities Activities

The CAC stated that it would continue to strengthen its crackdown on illegal securities activities that exist on those platforms and strictly uphold related rules.

Weibo’s Cleansing of Online Information

The latest closure of crypto-related Weibo accounts is part of a wider cleansing of online information by the company.

  • Weibo dealt with more than 140,000 accounts involved in spreading false or harmful information.

Previous Crackdown on Crypto Influencers

Crypto-related influencers first reported a flare-up in a clampdown targeting their social media accounts in 2019.

  • Weibo banned the accounts of major figures such as Binance co-founder Yi He and famous cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun.

Declaration of Cryptocurrency-related Activities as Illegal Financial Activities

In September 2021, 10 top government agencies in China jointly declared a broad range of cryptocurrency-related activities as illegal financial activities.

Beijing’s Rigid Ban on Cryptocurrency Trading

Beijing has shown little interest in easing its rigid ban on cryptocurrency trading.

Existence of Virtual Assets in China

Activities related to virtual assets continue to exist in China, with some operating in a legal grey area.

Legal Protection of Cryptocurrency as Property

A local Chinese court argued that cryptocurrency is legally protected as property in the country.

Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Mining

The government has remained steadfast in cracking down on cryptocurrency mining.

  • Prosecutors recently brought one of the country’s largest miners of the open-source, public cryptocurrency Filecoin to court.
  • Four executives were charged with crimes including organizing and leading a pyramid scheme involving more than 600 million yuan (US$82 million).

Sentencing of Former Official Supporting Cryptocurrency Mining

A former senior provincial official who was fired in 2021 for supporting cryptocurrency mining was sentenced to life in prison last week for accepting bribes and abusing his power.

Additional reporting by Lilian Zhang

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