Tencent Blocks Service for Cryptocurrency Trading and Ads
Chinese web giant Tencent announced on January 31 that they would ban any payment service and all advertising for illegal financial activities, like cryptocurrency trading and ICO-related activities as Chinese government called for a wider clampdown on services related to cryotocurrency in early January.
Tencent’s WeChat Pay has become one of the most popular mobile payment services, used by more than 40 percent of mobile users in China. And a large amount of local cryptotraders to access cryptocurrency OTC exchanges via WeChat Pay.
The firm said in a statement that they “ have always insisted on the principle of not providing relevant services for illegal financial activities such as the issuance of ICO tokens and virtual currency transactions”.
Tencent’s financial team is not providing relevant payment channels and ads service for such activities, and will take measures immediately if violations are found on the platform or reported by users.
Tencent pointed out the reason for this decision. “Risk-taking activities, such as money laundering, fraud and market manipulation, have soared recently caused by rampant ‘virtual currency’ trading. Financial regulators in various countries have clamped down on cryptocurrencies in a bid to curb speculation.” The statement said.
Earlier this week, social media giant Facebook banned ads for bitcoin and ICOs due to their frequent association with misleading or deceptive promotional practices. China’s major social media network followed suits.Tencent urged the users to recognize the risks of ICO and cryptocurrency trading clearly .
A multi-agency task force, including the People’s Bank of China(PBOC), put a ban on ICO and shut down all local cryptocurrency trading exchanges last year. The move just marked the beginning of a nation-wide suppression of bitcoin markets in China. On late January, the National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) warned crypto traders again to guard against the risks associated with ICO and “virtual currency” transactions at home and abroad.
Alipay, another popular mobile payment platform and a key part of Alibaba Group, offered a similar statement of its stance on facilitating OTC cryptocurrency trading this week.
“Alipay has always adhered to the principle of not providing services to virtual currency transactions such as Bitcoin. We will continue to closely monitor over-the-counter trading activities. Once we find any suspicious crypto-related transactions, we will take appropriate measures depending on circumstances immediately.”Alipay said, according to the Shanghai-based news portal Jiemian.
A sling of bad news has pushed bitcoin to a two-month low.As of press time, the price of bitcoin was plummeting to roughly $8515.74,according to Coindesk’ bitcoin price index, representing a decline of roughly 15%.