This weekly roundup of news from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to collect the industry’s biggest news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.
This week, after a tumultuous few weeks of regulation, the focus of the Bitcoin world shifted to Miami and Latin America. Searches for Bitcoin on China’s most popular social media app, WeChat, leveled off at between 1 and 3 million per day, a big difference from the peaks of more than 10 million seen in late May.
Weibo and Baidu half disconnects
Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, restricted searches from the Binance, Huobi and OKEx exchanges earlier in the week. Large Internet companies generally work under the watchful eye of the government and party officials, so this move is expected. Keyword filtering is not always the most effective solution, as searches for “Binance App Download” would still lead users to the requested link. It is worth noting that the government has limited authority in these cases as most of these large exchanges, particularly Binance, are registered in other countries and have a limited physical presence in China.
More effective was the silencing of cryptocurrency influencer accounts on the Weibo microblogging platform. According to Cointelegraph reports, at least a dozen accounts were suspended with a message that they had violated relevant laws and guidelines. This can have a much more sobering impact on the Chinese crypto community, as influencers are often a primary source of information, especially for users who don’t access traditional Western social media platforms.
Western province closes the door to miners
On June 9, a district government in western Xinjiang issued a “notice to immediately suspend virtual currency mining companies.” The report announced that digital currency mining companies must stop production before 2 p.m. on June 9 and report the suspension to a local reform commission. This resulted in significant drops in global hashing power, with the China-backed Ant Pool dropping by more than 30%. The past month has seen a series of regulations against mining companies as China prepares to try to meet carbon emissions targets. Miners are still struggling to adapt to the new regulations with many heading to more forgiving countries like neighboring Kazakhstan.
In that for the technology
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it has received more than 300 applications for crypto payments and exchange licenses. Singapore is a common place for Chinese companies to domicile, as it is home to a thriving FinTech sector, but remains close to the mainland, both in terms of geographical and cultural ties. One of the companies revealed was internet giant Alibaba. Alibaba has been under the microscope in China for its lending practices, so it is not surprising that Alibaba and other Chinese companies want to diversify their financial offerings in other regulatory regions.
Accelerating the pace of change
On June 7, China’s senior Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued guidelines to accelerate the application of blockchain technology in the industrial sector. He pointed to 2025 as the year that blockchain should penetrate fields such as supply chain management and traceability for internationally competitive companies. This will be of interest to a number of public and private networks that can develop within the limits of the Chinese regulatory framework. Despite cryptocurrency facing a strong backlash, the Chinese government has not back down from its hopes that blockchain will be an engine of the country’s economic growth.
For those looking to better understand China’s ambitions in this area, the government-backed BSN hosted a webinar on China’s searches for emerging technologies. Chinese tech experts Winston Ma and Paul Schulte covered a number of topics including blockchain, central bank digital currencies, and even some more controversial geopolitical topics. The Cointelegraph man himself in Shanghai was on hand to moderate, keeping an unbiased eye on things.
Bet on it
On June 8, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority launched a “Fintech 2025” strategy to improve research on a central bank’s digital currency. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is working with the National Settlement and Clearing Bank’s Innovation Center to bring the central bank’s digital currency to the retail level. This area is an interesting space to observe to determine how the e-HKD will be similar to the e-CNY, and what that means for the financial future of the region.