China’s Crackdown: Search Giant Baidu Starts Censoring Crypto Discussions on Its Forums

  • Baidu has recently started censoring cryptocurrency-related discussions on its online forums.
  • The search giant's move is in line with China's crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

Baidu, China’s leading search engine, has recently joined Alibaba and Tencent, distancing itself from cryptocurrencies amid China’s crackdown. Baidu has now moved to censor crypto discussions on its online forums.

According to local news outlet China Times, Baidu has recently shut down some of its most popular cryptocurrency-related forums, known as Post Bar services. Among the forums taken down are “Digital Currency Bar” and “Virtual Currency Bar.”

When searching for these forums online, users are greeted with a message that reads:

[This forum is temporarily closed] in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies.

Per the China Times, Baidu has “toughened its scrutiny over digital currency and will not allow sub-forums under this theme” based on the abovementioned reasons. Baidu’s forum business was launched back in 2003, and notably has over 300 monthly active users.

The search giant’s move comes shortly after Tencent and Alibaba revealed they were cracking down on crypto. Tencent itself revealed it will ban cryptocurrency trading on its popular WeChat app through measures that reportedly include real-time transaction monitoring and blocking transactions deemed suspicious.

Similarly, as CryptoGlobe covered, the largest payment processor in China, Alipay, banned accounts engaging in over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin trading while warning users against “false propaganda.” How both Alipay and Tencent monitor crypto trading is currently unclear.

China’s Crackdown

China began its crackdown on cryptocurrencies in September of last year, when it banned domestic cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) from the country. Its move forced various companies to move abroad, and saw some close.

ICO projects have since then started launching in friendlier jurisdictions like Singapore. Many, according to reports, still focus on getting new customers in China through online platforms like Telegram and WeChat.

Censors in China have recently shut down numerous cryptocurrency-related accounts on WeChat, including some owned by popular media start-ups. Earlier this month, Beijing’s central Chaoyang district distributed a notice that banned office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels, from hosting events promoting cryptocurrencies.

According to some, authorities in the country are set to block access to 124 cryptocurrency-related websites in the country to stop Chinese citizens from trading crypto. Some users in the country are notably already bypassing the censorship enforced by the ‘Great Firewall of China’ through virtual private networks (VPNs).

Crypto Market-Maker Altonomy Receives $7 Million in Funding from Polychain Capital

Altonomy, a New York-based cryptoasset trading, advisory, and asset management company, has completed a $7 million fundraising round from Polychain Capital, a leading hedge fund and venture capital firm.

Co-founded by Ricky Li, a former Manager of Research and Product at the CME Group, Altonomy has also received funding from 7 Blocks.

Additional Capital Will Allow Altonomy to Have More Inventory

Commenting on how the additional capital could help Altonomy’s business operations, Li said: 

As a liquidity provider for altcoins, more funding will allow us to have more inventory, taking larger exposure and managing risk more effectively.

Li added that the extra funding would allow Altonomy’s trading desk to provide better services - as the platform would not need to “put constraints” on customers at settlement.

Funds May Be Used to “Source Liquidity for Customers”

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the Founder and CEO at Polychain Capital, remarked:

As a long-time user of Altonomy’s trading services, it was an easy decision for us to invest in their business when the opportunity became available.

Carlson-Wee, a former Product Manager and Head of Risk at Coinbase, also mentioned that the additional funding would help “source liquidity for customers, regardless of token type, order size, market cap, or whether the asset trades on centralized or decentralized exchanges.”

According to Coindesk, Li had suggested to investors in January 2019 that they “liquidate enough ETH so they would have at least two years of runway.” However, Li is now anticipating that cryptocurrency prices may continue to recover - after enduring a long bear market that lasted throughout 2018.

Altonomy Introduces Cloud Service for Crypto Mining

In addition to providing crypto trading and asset management services, Altonomy introduced a new product last year, called the AltMiner. According to Li, AltMiner’s cloud service allows Altonomy’s bigger investors to mine various cryptocurrencies.

Altonomy’s management claims that the AltMiner has a “superior return profile” with the “newest generation of miners, low electricity costs and a secure hosting site.”

During an interview with CryptoGlobe in May 2019, Lee explained how Altonomy’s crypto trading services were developed and their potential benefits.

One of Altonomy’s main services, called electronic execution, allows mining firms, investment companies and crypto exchanges to “enter and exit positions as an outsourced execution desk.”

As a high-frequency market-maker, Altonomy also provides liquidity for various tokens to several crypto spot and derivatives trading platforms.