China’s ban on cryptocurrency mining – and general dislike of any form of blockchain-based assets – has seen web giant Tencent clamp down on discussion of the subjects on its massive WeChat and Weixin messaging platforms.
News of Tencent’s policy can be found in recent amendments to its terms of service which last week added a section about cryptocurrency and NFTs.
The added verbiage states that accounts engaged in discussion of crypto trading, exchange between bit-bucks and real money, or provision of pricing services for digital currencies, all need to stop it.
Account holders whose chats veer into the topics described above will be warned, and Tencent may restrict some functions of their accounts.
Continued discussion of forbidden crypto will see accounts banned.
Tencent has not explained why it changed its legalese, but it’s almost certainly a response to Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on crypto, and a parallel program that requires China’s web giants to clean up their acts. It wants the Middle Kingdom’s networks to provide only wholesome content that promotes proper Chinese values – even in users’ comments, which will soon be inspected and approved before publication.
Beijing believes crypto is a dangerously unruly innovation, and mining it is a waste of resources.
It has also enthusiastically created its own central bank digital currency, a form of digital cash, and is promoting it vigorously – including as a means of payment on WeChat.
Tencent’s stance therefore clears the way for its platforms – which have more than a billion users – to serve as a platform for China’s very traceable digital cash, but not to host content about alternatives.
China’s creation of a Digital Yuan is also a response to its big tech companies creating their own payment platforms. The likes of AliPay and WeChatPay are very widely used within China and have perhaps paved the way for easy acceptance of the Digital Yuan. ®