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China Clamps Down Again — Silences Online Crypto Discussion

China Shuts Down Popular Online Crypto Forums

The second coming of China’s crypto police has seemingly arrived, with the Asian country enlisting measures to cease the propagation of this nascent asset class over the past two weeks.

Most recently, Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, has begun to restrict access to crypto-centric forums, discussion boards, and chat rooms on the country’s intranet, which has become infamous for blocking access to western webpages. Per a report from the South China Morning Post, which originally broke this news, the forums affected, known as the “digital currency bar” and “virtual currency bar,” will be unavailable for any Chinese citizens using the Baidu system.

If any user attempts to access these forums, they will be prompted with a message that states:

“(These sites are closed) in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies.”

It is clear that with this move, the local government is intending to cease any discussion pertaining to crypto assets, so that it may fade out of the public eye and become nothing more than a distant memory. But as the age old saying goes, “rules are meant to be broken,” so it is likely that diehard crypto enthusiasts will eventually find some way to circumvent the ban.

Crypto Event Ban Fever Sweeps Across The Country

As reported by Ethereum World News, Beijing’s Chaoyang district government banned crypto-focused events just last week. According to a government release, all commercial venues, like hotels, malls, offices etc., were thereby banned from hosting any activities or events that put cryptos at the front and center.

While this was bad enough in and of itself, as Chaoyang is essentially Beijing’s downtown equivalent, it was recently revealed that Southern China’s Guangzhou special economic region has made a similar announcement. The Guangzhou Development District, which has been classified as an exclusive special economic zone, now disallows any crypto-related event as aforementioned.

The local government noted that this ban was to “maintain the security and stability of the financial system,” alluding to the fact that regulators see crypto as a potential threat to the government-run financial infrastructure that has been established. Now that two important regions within China have banned crypto events, it is likely that this ‘fever’ will, unfortunately, sweep across major cities in the economic powerhouse in due time.

China’s Relentless Crusade To Curb Crypto

Since the infancy of this industry, China has dominated the landscape, taking a forefront of the development and use of blockchain and crypto in legacy systems. However, as the price of crypto assets surged in 2017, the government began to crack down on the propagation of such assets, by reportedly issuing a blanket ban over cryptocurrency trading and ICO funding.

But this seemingly hasn’t worked, with some weaseling their way around the bans by establishing secret groups and alternative methods of buying/selling crypto with fiat. This has prompted the government to crack down on this industry for the second time. Some of the government’s other measures include banning 124 foreign crypto exchanges, restricting access to eight crypto-centric news outlets on WeChat, and also banning Alipay accounts that have been suspected of facilitating crypto trades.

It is unlikely that the Chinese government will end their crusade anytime soon, but many are hopeful that they will not do their utmost to stamp out crypto entirely.

Photo by Usukhbayar Gankhuyag on Unsplash
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Binance Addition Of USD/EUR Trading Pairs Means More Action For Crypto (BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC)

Binance is ranked number one in terms of the crypto exchange with the highest trade volume per day. At the moment of writing this, Binance is doing a whopping $2.11 Billion in daily trading. The main cryptocurrencies trading on the online exchange are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX), Ripple (XRP) and Zilliqa (ZIL) in that order.

Bitcoin leads the pack with $330.47 Million in trade volume and when paired with USDT; Ethereum is second with $90.6 Miillion when paired with USDT and $88.55 Million when paired with Bitcoin. Tron, Ripple and Zilliqa have trade volumes of $88.3 Million, $84.362 Million and $59.16 Million respectively and all paired with BTC.

With the above information and the trading pairing mentioned, it is easy to conclude that the news about Binance adding fiat as an option when selecting trading pairs, will bring much anticipated action to the most popular crypto exchange. This is because USDT (Tether), which is pegged to the US Dollar, is only paired with Cardano (ADA), Bitcoin  Cash (BCC), Binance Coin (BNB), BTC, ETH, LTC, NEO and QTUM. This means that if you are trading any other coin or token and the market starts to tank, you will have to trade to BTC then to USDT very quick to avoid losses.

With Binance currently trading 304 coins and tokens, this means a trader has to always rely on BTC, BNB or ETH to be a ‘middle-man’ coin, for you to stash your profits in USDT. In using these coins as a ‘middle-men’, you lose valuable time and incur an additional transaction fee just to get to USDT.

With personal experience, and the recent crash in December after Christmas, I found that I was able to avoid losses with Bitfinex which has USD paired with all the coins and tokens on the exchange. When the crypto market dipped, the USD was not affected and I could hold my loot safely in fiat as the crypto did all the ‘tumbling’ in the markets. To add to this, I only needed on transaction to be safely back to USD.

It is with this premise that when Binance adds the fiat-to-crypto option on their exchange, that it is safe to conclude that this move will even attract more traders from other exchanges. Binance has also announced that it is shifting base to Malta in a bid to avoid crytocurrency crackdowns in China and tough regulations in America. The CEO of Binance, Zao Changpeng, is quoted as saying the following about Malta:

“We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”

In conclusion, the Crypto-verse is still gaining momentum in a manner that had been predicted earlier this year, but there were lingering doubts due to the falling crypto values. Since April 12th, there was been a resurgence in the markets. What remains is the increase in mainstream adoption of the industry.