Binance Questioned Over Being Still Accessible for Chinese despite Crypto Trading Bans
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is still accessible for Chinese residents, despite having left the country amid a government ban on crypto trading in 2017, state-run media outlet China National Radio (CNR) reported.
It caught the media’s attention when the exchange’s founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao showed up on Weibo (Twitter equivalent in China) and forwarded multiple weibos posted by Binance’s official account, seemingly advertising their services with multiple direct links to the exchange including a website showed as “binancezh.com”.
As the website name indicates, “zh” is usually used as a short form of Zhongwen in mandarin, literally “Chinese”, and the website is also shown in Chinese among a dozen language choices.
Although Binance is previously reported to have stopped providing services for users in mainland China, a CNR reporter has recently found out it could still be accessed in China through the “binancezh.com” website after he registered an account and successfully conducted a Chinese Yuan-to-BTC trade over the exchange’s OTC (over the counter) desk.
In response, Binance claimed that it does not operate in the country, and the website in question is just a “test site” mostly used by Egyptian residents, according to data from Alexa.
A search result at Alexa shows that 49.5% of the site’s visitors come from Egypt, followed by the U.S. and Hong Kong. However, data from SimilarWeb indicates that just eight percent of the traffic to the website comes from Egypt, while nearly 80% comes from China.
Binance’s inching back to China
China had unequivocally banned ICO and forced the closure of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in September 2017. To dodge regulations in the country, most Chinese crypto exchanges choose to relocate their servers overseas and continue their services facing Chinese investors.
Since then, Binance has planned to inch back to China in various ways. Considering the country’s great embrace of blockchain technology, its latest effort is to focus on education and technology, with the establishment of a blockchain research institute in China and presenting as a blockchain education platform instead of an exchange.
Earlier this April, following the March 12 crypto crash, the National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a PBoC-backed internet finance regulatory group, has issued a risk alert against the hype of overseas virtual currency exchanges as these crypto exchanges carry out exaggerated publicity to grab investors’ attention, and reiterated the need for institutions and individuals in the country “to strictly abide by national laws and regulatory requirements, and stay clear of virtual currency transaction activities and related speculation”.