Alibaba Subsidiary Taobao Bans few Cryptocurrency and ICO Services.
April 17, 2018 7:00 am,
Taobao previously had a ban on the sale of Cryptocurrency Miners and offering Mining Tutorials. In addition to that, they have now banned any product or service that makes use of the Blockchain. The new rule prohibits Cryptocurrency related services which include ICO Consultancy, White Paper Writing Services, smart contract deployment services and other crypto related technical services. This also prohibits the sale of blockchain based virtual assets like CryptoKitties and their numerous clones. These new rules will be valid from April 17th.
Taobao has cited recent bans from People’s Bank of China behind the crackdown. In September last year, PBoC banned all ICOs and early this year, they banned Cryptocurrencies itself. Though there is no ban on mining yet, most miners are looking to move their services outside the country.
Taobao considers breaking these new rules as serious violations and has a penalty system in place to penalize those who fail to follow. After PBoC banned ICOs last year, most of the advertisers have been able to circumvent this ban by changing the spellings. For example, they write ICO as IC0 where they change the ‘O’ to ‘0’(zero).
Though China has been extremely hostile towards Cryptocurrencies, most of the traders are optimistic about a change in stance in the coming months. In fact, PBoC’s new head Yi Gang said “Bitcoin is a currency that provides freedom to anyone that uses it,” and emphasized that the cryptocurrency is transparent.
Though Taobao has banned all Blockchain related services, there is no ban on Blockchain in China. In fact, the Chinese government has been extremely optimistic of Blockchain technology. A $1 Billion Blockchain fund was just launched which is backed by the government to invest in Blockchain startups. Also, PBoC filed the most number of Blockchain patents in 2017.
A considerable punishment will be imposed on the stores that violate the new regulations by turning a blind eye to them, said the statement.
In September 2017, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) imposed an indefinite ban on ICOs.
Surprisingly, a large chunk of individual sellers remained active on the Taobao platform with services related to ICOs even after PBoC’s ban. Some of these went to the extent of drawing up ‘white papers’ with fake information to help ICO projects.
As of today, searching for the term ‘white papers’ in Mandarin still redirects to stores that offer white paper copywriting services for the banned ICO activities.