The popular Chinese social network Weibo has blocked several influential accounts related to cryptocurrencies.
Multiple accounts reported that they had been denied access to their Weibo profiles over the weekend.
Some posted images online, showing a message on their accounts saying they had violated “relevant laws and regulations.” No further information was provided on why the accounts had violated the Weibo community rules.
Cryptocurrency retailers and advocates such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk regularly use social media to discuss trading and markets.
The crackdown on the Twitter-like platform comes as Beijing is stepping up its efforts against online bitcoin trading and mining.
Chinese miners currently account for around 70 percent of the world’s Bitcoin supply, but the country has already lost its position as a global trading center after Beijing banned crypto exchanges in 2017.
Last month, three Chinese industry bodies banned cryptocurrency-based payment and financial services.
In recent weeks, Chinese media has also stepped up reports against cryptocurrency trading, warning of dangers.
Some critics have raised financial concerns, in addition to pointing to China’s own environmental goals.
Bitcoin and other digital cryptocurrencies require a lot of energy to mine, and there are fears that this could affect Beijing’s goals of meeting clean energy targets by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2060.
Musk himself recently tweeted his concerns about the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining.” The electric car maker said last month that they will stop accepting Bitcoin as payment, citing these environmental concerns.
NYU Law School adjunct professor Winston Ma told Euronews that the blocking of cryptocurrency Weibo accounts “was not a surprise.”
“The Chinese government has made it clear that a Chinese version of Elon Musk cannot exist in the Chinese cryptocurrency market,” Ma said.
“This crackdown on social media is just part of this effort to prevent ordinary retailers from creating get-rich-quick messages.”
“In a way, China has created a precedent for crypto trading related to social media application.”
Ma, who is also the author of the book, The Digital War, said that China’s supreme court could soon ban cryptocurrency trading.
“Although China is the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining market, only a small percentage of the country’s population participates in cryptocurrency trading,” Ma said.
“These affected Weibo accounts are the ones that promote cryptocurrency trading and provide links to trading platforms, using their influence on social media to attract user traffic.”
After the Weibo freeze in China, Bitcoin continued its decline in market value, but analysts have suggested that this could also be related to another tweet from Musk suggesting that he was ending his association with the cryptocurrency.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism