WeChat Strikes Asian Crypto Gamblers

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WeChat – the popular payment and messaging mobile application that’s used across most of Asia – recently updated its policy to curb some inappropriate user activity. According to the new rules, WeChat will be particularly targeting cryptocurrency users, especially those who use crypto to gamble online, but also anyone paying for pornography or other prohibited activities through the application. Read more about the changes in our full update below.

Gambling and Lottery Ban by Month End

According to English translations of the new policy, all cryptocurrency payments will be banned on WeChat starting this May 31st. If any user is found to be in breach of this rule past the set date, they will have their WeChat account terminated. Promoting online gambling platforms and services is also prohibited as well as any sharing or selling of pornographic materials.

After the policy was published last week, some WeChat users from the cryptocurrency sector began voicing concerns that this new set of rules will likely have an impact on the liquidity of the local market, although the extent of that impact remains to be seen. As many WeChat members know, most over-the-counter cryptocurrency transactions in the Asian region are happening through the messaging service, so cutting off this channel will unsurprisingly have an effect on local trading.

Reportedly, the ban will affect merchants and corporate users, which will be restricted from engaging in more than just trading coins, gambling, and distributing pornography. According to the announcement text from WeChat, participating in internet lotteries, forex trading, and investing in assets like gold and silver through the app will also be prohibited.

The ban comes after criticism from the Chinese government at the end of 2018, which found that the service was allowing citizens to engage in gambling activities that the country has been fighting fiercely for years. WeChat’s payments service was reportedly found to be allowing transactions for the use of gambling while the messaging service was discovered to be facilitating groups that allowed members to engage in gambling by guessing results of games and matches.

Part of a Bigger Restriction

WeChat’s ban is very likely due to pressure from the Chinese government which has been fighting tooth and nail to curb gambling in the country outside of state-approved territories. Recently, the government banned all video poker games across China, including those related to the popular Mahjong tile game. The only gambling that is allowed by the authorities is in Macau, which grew to become one of the biggest gambling cities in the world, attracting hundreds of VIPs from mainland China on a regular basis.

However, as some cryptocurrency supporters note, WeChat’s new policy may have a negative effect in the short-term but over the long term it may be a positive thing. By forcing a new policy on the members of WeChat that restricts their online freedom, the messaging service may actually make more people turn to cryptocurrencies to avoid such restrictions. Subsequently, local gamblers could also turn to using cryptocurrencies more often.

May 15, 2019: • No Comments

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