China’s leading social media platform, WeChat, has updated its policies to ban accounts that provide access to crypto or NFT-related services.
Under the new guidelines, accounts involved in issuing, trading, and funding crypto and NFTs will either be restricted or banned and fall under the category of “illegal activity.”
The policy also covers secondary NFT trading, with the company noting that “accounts that provide services or content related to the secondary trading of digital collections will also be treated in accordance with this section.”
The move was highlighted by Hong Kong-based crypto journalist Wu Blockchain (Colin Wu) on June 20, as he stressed the importance of the action given that WeChat has over 1.1 billion users. daily newspapers in China.
WeChat, with over 1.1 billion daily active users in China, has updated its rules: WeChat public accounts involved in issuing, trading and funding crypto and NFTs will be restricted or banned. https://t.co/0I9oMrvFTp pic.twitter.com/mzclYjFZNg
– Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) June 20, 2022
In terms of penalties, the new policy states that “once such violations are discovered, the WeChat public platform will, depending on the seriousness of the violations, order the offending official accounts to rectify within a period of time and restrict certain functions. from the account until the permanent account is banned.
The Chinese government implemented a phased ban on the local crypto sector between May and September last year. However, given the timing of the last policy update on WeChat, this could suggest that the platform has let some crypto activity go unnoticed since then.
Additionally, there is still a regulatory gray area in the country regarding NFTs, as assets can be purchased in fiat. Yet companies and platforms generally prohibit secondary trading to avoid potential compliance issues related to the financialization of technology.
Officials generally disapproved of NFTs, with the China Banking Association, China Internet Finance Association and Securities Association of China issuing a joint statement in April warning the public of “hidden risks” of investing in the assets.
Related: Christie’s NFT expert at the head of CryptoPunks, a fake heiress launches an NFT collection
Popular platforms such as WeChat and Ant Group-owned WhaleTalk have walked away from the technology since March after they both reportedly began removing or restricting NFT platforms from their networks due to a lack of regulatory clarity and fear of repression from Beijing.
Despite this, a local media report from June 16 highlighted data showing that the number of digital collectibles platforms in China has risen to over 500, a 5x increase since February 2022.