This weekly roundup of news from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s top news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and corporate blockchain integrations.
It’s been over half a year since the raids began in China and pressure from the top-down government is still being enforced. Most projects within China find ways to circumvent regulations by focusing on the technological aspect, but few are in a very enviable position. Among other things, it will certainly make it harder to find talented employees as conservative-minded local citizens will have concerns about the safety and sustainability of the industry.
With new guidelines at home
Some projects, like VeChain, are taking the opportunity to focus on their Blockchain-as-a-Service technology and are well positioned to continue operations. Blockchain has always been seen as an important technology for China, especially when used for things like food safety and other socially responsible applications.
Last week, the smart contract platform bravely took part in China’s acclaimed International Import Expo, where it unveiled its traceability system along with long-time partner PwC. The expo was bigger than usual this year due to the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO. Chinese President Xi Jinping entered speech via video to celebrate the opening of the expo and, as usual, how China is successfully opening and developing.
During the 4th #CIIE, VeChain @PwC joined the discussion about Air Trace. We are proud to attend this great event and demonstrate our advantage in the low-code blockchain development that will drive more significant digital initiatives in the future. # CIIE2021 pic.twitter.com/jUb3HeUz5D
– VeChain Foundation (@vechainofficial) November 9, 2021
Corporate solutions on public blockchain were on everyone’s lips a few years ago, but now there are fewer and fewer competitors to VeChain as most have switched to DeFi solutions or have simply gone quiet. The real challenge will be convincing China’s organizations to choose a truly public solution, rather than a consortium model without all of the decentralized bells and whistles.
Tech giants like Alibaba and JD.com have their own private solutions that may be just close enough to real blockchain technology for officials to gloss over the details.
Turn a new leaf
The gossip columns were busy after OKEx founder Star Xu’s LinkedIn status suddenly indicated he was in San Francisco. The market leader of the second largest exchange by volume had been put to the test this year in view of the strict regulations for the exchanges. Its abrupt arrival in the US shows that OK Group is serious about its separation from China and will be able to enter new markets without fear of interference from law enforcement. OKEx has seen strong growth over the past few months and is now pushing hard on the GameFi and NFT segments in hopes of gaining an edge over the competition.
Huobi, on the other hand, appears to be betting on Singapore, where it is hoping to rebound after a rocky third quarter of 2021. Huobi Global announced it left the country and opened the way for Huobi Singapore to find a pleasant entrance.
Users have until March next year to switch to the Huobi Singapore service, after which their global accounts will be closed. Singapore has been a safe haven for many of the biggest players in the industry, relying on an advanced regulatory environment, a high quality of life and a multicultural atmosphere that makes both English and Chinese speakers feel at home.
Continuous action against media and mining
On October 13, leading blockchain media companies received a notice from the Cyberspace Administration of China asking them to cease operations. These included ChainNews and Block123, two of the more established platforms.
Servers in Alibaba Cloud interrupt relevant services and switch off the APP and the website. Twitter and Telegram channels were of course not affected, which makes overseas one of the few places for Chinese users to find information. This will require some additional network tools to bypass the great firewall, but should have the intended result of eliminating excessive retail speculation while still allowing the true tech users to participate.
In other regulatory news, the Chinese government has warned State companies should stay away from cryptocurrency mining activities. Many public services, such as electricity companies, telephone companies, and oil companies, are still owned and operated by party-backed organizations.
Jobs in these companies offer many perks, benefits and stability, but are often associated with lower salaries than in the private sector. Corruption and under-the-table business have traditionally been an easy way for these employees to grow their income, but since Xi Jinping took office and made anti-corruption a key issue, the risk of exposure has skyrocketed. An officer from Jiangxi already has Fell victim to these raids and was expelled from the party and office.