Up until recently, China ruled the crypto and blockchain sector with an iron fist. In Bitcoin’s earliest years, or during its earliest blocks if you will, Chinese nationals quickly flocked to purchase BTC and build up and ecosystem around the asset. However, Bejing has begun to crack down on decentralized technology in an evident strategy shift.
China Imposes Blockchain Rules
Per an exclusive report from a Shanghai-based arm of Reuters, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has made moves to impose blockchain rules on startups in this nascent ecosystem.
Per a Beijing-backed new set of rules, blockchain platforms of Chinese origins will be mandated to censor content (like China’s pseudo-internet), while offering authorities access stored data. Chinese blockchains will also be required to allow authorities to access the identity of users, which will be made possible by mandatory Know Your Customer efforts (national ID, telephone number, etc. submission).
These rules are slated to give live next month, with the CAC claiming that this will allow this budding sector to advance in a “healthy and orderly” manner.
If startups involving this innovation don’t abide by the aforementioned rules, the cyberspace-centric entity will reportedly fine/prosecute violators.
As this news spread, the global crypto community erupted into a self-contained clamor. Censorship is directly against crypto’s underlying raison d’etre, which is to be open and immutable for all.
China has seemingly disregarded this fact, as the nation seeks to maintain an unquestioned hegemony over the nation’s digital space. Interestingly, this isn’t the only time that Beijing has used censorship to hold the cryptosphere hostage, so to speak.
Not The First Anti-Crypto Measure
In August, the South China Morning Post revealed that Baidu, China’s de-facto version of Google, began to restrict access to Bitcoin-friendly forums, discussion boards, and chat rooms on the country’s effective intranet. The forums affected, known as the “digital currency bar” and “virtual currency bar,” are now unavailable for any Chinese citizens using the Baidu system.
If any user attempts to access these now-restricted forums, they will be prompted with the following message:
“(These sites are closed) in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies.”
This move came just weeks after China double-downed on its crusade to curb cryptocurrency. Some other regulatory measures from China’s political incumbents include banning access to 124 foreign crypto exchanges, restricting access to eight crypto news outlets on WeChat, and also banning Alipay accounts that have been suspected of facilitating Bitcoin transactions.
Yet, per previous reports from Live Coin Watch, one of the nation’s leading TV outlets, China Central Television, shilled Andreas Antonopoulos’ “Mastering Bitcoin” book to a “nationwide audience.”
Although the segment’s hosts spoke highly of the Bitcoin primer, CCTV, staying congruent with China’s regulatory stance on crypto assets had altered the title, likely without Andreas’ permission. The title, which was obviously presented in hanzi (Chinese characters), roughly translates to “Blockchain: The Path Towards Digitized Assets.”