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WeChat Bans All Crypto-Related Content Following ToS Update

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Over the past couple of years, China has had a rocky relationship with the world of blockchain and digital assets. The country initially promoted mining, trade and other activities, but 2021 has seen crackdowns on just about everything, mostly due to high energy consumption and alleged gateways to operations not approved by the government.

The last series of repressions

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repression this eventually led to the fact that all cryptocurrency mining was banned in China, and many miners moved to neighboring countries, in particular to Kazakhstan and Iran.

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Both of these countries took advantage of the situation and contributed to the newly launched crypto business, albeit with some restrictions.

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There is still some digital-related research going on in China, especially in relation to CBDC. However, in updating its Terms of Service, WeChat — the largest social network in the country with over 1.1 billion users — has decided to ban all content deemed to promote digital assets.

The change in WeChat’s policy towards the crypto world was discovered by Hong Kong journalist Colin Wu.


NFTs also target

Prior to this update, NFTs were in a regulatory gray area in China. While cryptocurrencies have already been heavily regulated, WeChat’s ToS update specifically targets NFTs.

“Accounts that provide services or content related to the secondary transaction of digital collections should also be considered under this article.”

The new ToS goes on to say that all accounts associated with “virtual currencies or digital collections” will either be shadowbanned, a practice that allows users already involved in a particular community to remain active, but removes that community from search results for everyone. otherwise, or terminated, depending on the perceived level of ToS violation.

While NFTs have been largely ignored by Chinese regulators in the past, a recent report by the China Times indicates that the number of such platforms in the country has grown from around 100 to over 500 in 2022 alone.

According to Wu Junjie, a researcher at the Harbin Institute of Technology, many of them are mired in questionable compliance procedures — both in terms of ownership and compliance.

“In terms of enforcement of intellectual property rights, the Hangzhou Internet Court, in the first domestic NFT case, determined that digital collection platforms should take on higher due diligence obligations, and launched a strict due diligence and reporting mechanism for digital collection companies.”

The surge in interest in NFTs, culminating in the aforementioned court case, may have resulted in these assets being subject to scrutiny by regulators, prompting WeChat to target “digital collections” along with cryptocurrencies.

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