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Alibaba’s Taobao Removes ICO White Paper Copywriting Service Amid Regulation Concerns

Alibaba’s Taobao, one of the world’s largest online shopping platform, has removed all  copywriting services of blockchain or ICO white papers in recent days, according to a report from the Chinese tech media 36kr. The move comes after Chinese authorities escalates their crackdown on illegal ICO activities.


Taobao is arguably best known for being dominated by unimagined cheap commodities and all sorts of services. China’s Beijing News reported in mid February that Taobao services for drafting blockchain white papers and ICO design and fund raising consultancy were welcomed by many Chinese blockchain entrepreneurs who wanted to get rich quickly several months after China’s ban on ICO activities. And the white paper for ICO was available at the price of 3,600 CNY on the platform.

Searches using key words like “ICO”,  “Blockchain White Paper” now on the Taobao marketplace result in zero. In response, Taobao said in a statement that,

“ Taobao manages its products based on national regulations and related policies, including the joint decree from the seven financial regulators to halt domestic ICOs last September. The platform also actively monitors activities that disturb the market, and violate social ethics. ”

China completely banned the sale of ICOs and halted cryptocurrency trading last September, but domestic demand for quick fortune were forced to go underground and some ICOs still remain active among Chinese investors.

Despite Taobao’s ban on the sales of blockchain white paper, some vendors that offer buyers tailor-made business plans still ghostwrite ICO white papers for domestic blockchain companies, and transfer the “communication channel” from Taobao to private social media platforms such as Wechat.

A customer service representative of a Taobao online store told the reporter that over 10 customers sought their service to ghostwrite ICO white papers. According to the service provider, the price of a 25-30 page white paper ranged from 3,000 CNY to 5,000 CNY before the ban, while the English version required another 1,000 CNY. And such white papers can be finished  in 7-10 days.

Plus, a standardized ICO white paper Taobao sellers provide include the project’s technology concepts, founding team, strengths, technical architecture and some other aspects.

Some sellers can even falsify the backgrounds of team members by making them appear as experts from top universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford or programmers from tech giants such as Apple, Google, IBM, etc. The service provider also ensure their profile pictures remain unsearchable on the internet.

Drafting a well-crafted white paper is just the first step for a blockchain projects to lure potential investors. A full-service solution for ICO, including white paper copywriting, ICO design, marketing was also available on Taobao before the ban, which usually cost 10,000 CNY. Some high-demand projects were even willing to spend hundreds of thousands of Yuan on such services.

It seems that it is pretty difficult to completely ban ICO activities and cryptocurrency tradings in China at present as an increasing number of investors flock to the cryptocurrency gold rush through indirect means.


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