TaoBao has banned all cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency related services on its platform. Starting April 17th services as varied as offering cryptocurrency mining tutorials to writing whitepapers will not be allowed. According to the site, the move was taken in line with the Chinese government stance on cryptocurrencies.
TaoBao cites the need for the company to comply with rules set by tghe China Banking Regulatory Commission and other regulatory agencies.
“In order to standardize the management of Taobao’s online shopping platform, create a safe and secure online shopping environment for consumers, and enhance consumer’s confidence and experience, Taobao will follow the relevant laws and regulations governing the sale of goods,” a rough translation of a notice posted on its website says.
“Such digital currency and similar digital products are prone to user speculation and irregular financing risks, and any organization must not provide services such as transactions, exchange, pricing, mediation, and payment,” the new policy now states referring to cryptocurrencies and related services.
No More Cryptokitties
Other services which will be prohibited starting tomorrow include smart contract deployment services, business planning, mediation, marketing and ICO consultancy. Virtual assets such as Cryptokitties will be banned when the new change of policy comes into the place.
“Products with the same technical properties and generating mechanisms as digital currency, such as digital pets generated based on blockchain technology,” the policy says.
TaoBao is a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba. It is one of the most visited sites worldwide with users mainly drawn from China, Hong Kong and Macau. Initial coin offerings or ICOs were banned in China last year. Cryptocurrencies were banned altogether in early 2018.
Except mining, all blockchain related services are banned in the country. Even then, the government plans to gradually phase out cryptocurrency mining. Some miners have already starting moving out.
12 points will be deducted for serious violations and 48 points for severe violations according to the new changes.
Violators of the new rules will be penalized when the policy comes into effect. It will be interesting how the site will identify those intent on going round the rules by deceptively changing spellings.
Facebook banned cryptocurrency related advertisements earlier in the year but it is still struggling with deliberately misspelled ads. Internet giant Google has also banned cryptocurrency advertisements in a policy that will be effected in June. The company cited the need to protect consumers from deceptive advertisements as reason for its action .
Despite the harsh stance, China has the highest number of blockchain patents filed to date. The government is even throwing its weight behind blockchain start ups with a $1 Billion Blockchain fund.
Most cryptocurrency exchanges that previously offered services are now located in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong. Major ones like Binance and Bitfinex are scouting for new homes as their prospects appear dim within the country.