WeChat, a Chinese messaging app owned by Tencent, on Wednesday suspended some accounts associated with the trading of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The crackdown officially started on Wednesday although sources report that the banning of accounts associated with the digital collectibles was first noticed on March 19. The ban, however, targeted small and medium accounts leaving behind large ones.
It’s reported that the activity started following complaints made by users while others were suspected of fraud.
According to a Chinese state-run news agency, Sina News, the move was made to ensure users complied with state regulations and to cripple cryptocurrency transactions — NFTs are usually based on a blockchain platform such as Ethereum. In China, cryptocurrency-related activities/transactions are illegal. According to Sina, specific measures taken by WeChat include: it is required to provide a certificate of proof of cooperation with a blockchain company that has been registered and approved by the Cyberspace Administration of China as a qualification certificate, and secondary-level transactions are not supported.
Tencent also added that it will pay close attention to industry trends in the future to ensure accounts are operating in congruent with the regulations.
However, China has not imposed regulations on the trading of NFT (digital collectibles) which means users can buy them but won’t be able to do secondary trading. Digital collectibles cannot be bought with cryptocurrencies since they were banned in China. Therefore, users can buy them using the Chinese Yuan. Besides, digital collectibles are not built on mainstream blockchain technology. They rely on nonconformity technology which is subject to inadvertency by the state/regulators.
Concurrently, Wechat is also cracking down on accounts that are allegedly impelling customers to follow restaurants‘ accounts after they (customers) make an order which is done by scanning a QR code to access the menu. As such, WeChat added a ‘complaints’ button where users can submit complaints in case they encounter a merchant who forces them to follow their account(s).