TRADERS DEFECT TO TELEGRAM AMID CRACKDOWN
New rules on message groups deliver rare setback on WeChat as users switch app
WECHAT is starting to see its first wave of defectors: Chinese cryptocurrency afficionados. The country’s crackdown on bitcoin and WeChat, the nation’s dominant messaging app, is sending users of both to Telegram and other encrypted services banned in the country.
With administrators personally liable for what is said on groups they run, users of bitcoin exchanges OKCoin, Huobi and BTCChina are migrating to services beyond the government’s reach.
On Telegram, they are popping up to discuss everything from how to transfer their digital tokens overseas to more effective ways to protect privacy, to initial coin offerings.
The new rules on message groups have delivered a rare setback for WeChat, which permeates the daily life of 963 million users and underpins Shenzhenbased Tencent Holdings Ltd’s US$400 billion (RM1.67 trillion) market valuation.
The crackdown has converged with a tightening on digital currencies as China declared initial coin offerings illegal.
Cryptocurrency groups on WeChat have been quick to disband and mushroom overnight on Telegram.
At least 30 such groups have appeared, with some already attracting more than 1,000 users in a single room, mostly speaking Chinese.
While Telegram is officially blocked in China, users can access the service through virtual private networks. As a foreign encrypted platform, it is somewhat beyond the grasp of the country’s authorities. Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency groups on WeChat have been quick to disband following new rules that hold the administrators liable for what is said in there.