Alibaba’s Taobao Expands Crypto Regulations By Banning ICOs And Associated Services

Chinese online shopping website Taobao, a subsidiary of retail giant Alibaba, will be banning stores on the platform from providing services related to Initial Coin Offering (ICOs), according to the press release published on Tuesday, April 10.

The official statement offers an update of the firm’s previous cryptocurrency-related restrictions, which banned Taobao’s customers from services related to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), as well as from offering cryptocurrency mining tutorials, Bitcoin mining machines, and other related hardware.

The new regulatory framework that will take effect starting April 17, consists of two major changes. First, the new rules expand the concept of virtual currencies by incorporating ICOs and other “similar digital products.” Secondly, they establish increased control of derivative services of digital products based on Blockchain technology.

By implementing these new regulations, Taobao aims to protect customers from financial risks associated with services related to ICOs, including illegal fundraising and easy speculation. Recalling the decision of the People's Bank of China (PBoC) to ban ICOs in September 2017, Taobao reminded users that no institution may provide trading, exchange, pricing, brokerage, payment, or other services of “digital currencies or similar digital products.”

Taobao said that stores which violate the new rules and keep offering ICO-related services such as white paper writing services, will suffer punitive measures.

Last week, Cointelegraph reported that Alibaba sued the Dubai-based Alibabacoin Foundation ICO for copyright infringement that involved “prominent, repeated, and intentionally misleading” behavior using the company’s name.