China’s WeChat Policy Updates – Ban all Crypto and NFT-related Accounts

WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform with over 1.1 billion daily users, has updated its policy to restrict accounts from offering access to crypto or non-fungible token (NFT)-related services.

Colin Wu, a Hong Kong-based crypto news writer, shared the updated rules on Twitter on Monday. Wu mentions in the tweet that public accounts on WeChat that include “the issuance, trading, and financing of crypto and NFTs” are prohibited.

To be clear, the Chinese government does not officially control WeChat or its policy regarding the prohibition of crypto and NFTs. It is, however, subject to the strict rules that Chinese enterprises are required to obey. Significantly, under the China Internet Security Law and the National Intelligence Law, it is required to exchange data with the Chinese government. As a result, many Chinese government critics and observers view WeChat as a surveillance tool.

In regards to its new restrictions, the policy states that “once such violations are discovered, the WeChat public platform will, according to the severity of the violations, order the violating official accounts to rectify within a time limit and restrict some functions of the account until the permanent account is banned.”

Between May and September of last year, the Chinese government implemented a phased ban on the local crypto sector. However, considering the time of the newest WeChat policy update, it could imply that the platform has been overlooking certain bitcoin activity since then.

Furthermore, because the assets can be purchased in fiat, there is still a regulatory gray area in the country regarding NFTs. Yet, corporations and platforms often ban secondary trading to prevent potential compliance problems regarding the financialization of the tech.

To say that China’s relationship with crypto and NFTs is fraught is an understatement. Nevertheless, the country has gone out of its way in recent months to prohibit the usage of major global cryptocurrencies and NFT platforms.

Popular platforms like WeChat and WhaleTalk, which is owned by the Ant group, have reportedly been eliminating or banning NFT platforms from their networks since March due to a lack of regulatory clarity and concerns over a crackdown from Beijing.

The number of digital collectible platforms in China has increased to over 500, a five-fold growth since February 2022, according to data highlighted in a local media report on Thursday, notwithstanding this.