China’s stance toward decentralized cryptocurrency trading appears to be getting even tougher. Chinese journalist Colin Wu and crypto news site 8BTCNews have both claimed that as of Wednesday, search results for some of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges are pulling up zero results.
Cointelegraph’s staff in China have themselves searched for cryptocurrency exchanges on the search engines and confirmed that results are inaccessible. However, a compound search such as “Binance Academy” or “Huobi Research Center” does still seem to be passing through the censors.
If the situation continues, this appears to be the latest step in Beijing’s increasing censorship of cryptocurrency-related information via social media. On Monday, Weibo — China’s Twitter-like microblogging service with over 530 million monthly active users — suspended accounts belonging to multiple popular Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto-related content creators.
Colin Wu, or Wu Blockchain on Twitter, has noted that searches for Binance, Huobi and OKEx are not showing up for users of Baidu and Sogou, two major Chinese search engines. In addition, both Wu and 8BTCNews claim that Weibo has imposed the same black-out measures, with Wu noting that Zhihu — an analog to Quora — has also followed in step.
Censorship measures form just a part of China’s attempt to restrict various cryptocurrency activities, including mining and fundraising themes, deeming the latter illegal. Areas being targeted include financial and payment institutions’ provision of services related to cryptocurrency and token financing platforms that could be used as fiat-to-crypto gateways.
The crackdown on mining has focused on the government’s concerns over the industry’s carbon footprint, especially in areas such as Inner Mongolia. At least three mining companies — BTC.TOP, Huobi and HashCow — have announced they would be ceasing activities on the mainland.
As of yet, representatives from the targeted exchanges have not made any public announcement regarding the apparent social media censorship measures.
Binance could not provide comment on the situation but noted “that Binance does not currently hold exchange operations in China.”