Alibaba’s Subsidiary Taobao Bans Crypto Businesses
Originally published on: Alibaba’s Subsidiary Taobao Bans Crypto Businesses
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April 15, 2018
After the recent tiff involving ‘Alibabacoin’ and e-commerce giant Alibaba, wherein the latter sued Alibabacoin for misuse of their name, Taobao, a subsidiary of Alibaba, has banned all things crypto on its website.
Taobao Bars Crypto Services
Taobao has updated its list of goods and services that are barred from being sold on their platform, and it includes all services related to cryptocurrency.
Founded in 2003, Taobao is a unique platform which enables individuals and small businesses to set up online stores for purposes of selling their goods and services. As of 2018, the platform is amongst the top ten most visited websites in the world, according to Alexa.
On Tuesday, April 10, the e-commerce giant released a statement in which they formally banned individual stores on its platform from extending services that are related to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The services can range anything from technological development to marketing and whitepaper writing. Not one to wait, the ban comes into effect from April 17 itself.
The new regulations arise from the platform’s self-regulatory measures against cryptocurrencies. Previously in 2015, Taobao prohibited individual vendors from selling bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Increasing its regulatory stance, the ban now encompasses anything closely related to blockchain technology. Includes any service or product, and even 2017’s Ethereum fascination – ‘CryptoKitties.’
Additionally, the existing restrictions on selling cryptocurrency mining devices and training tutorials on mining remain intact.
Violators Shall Be Punished
A considerable punishment will be imposed on the stores that violate the new regulations by turning a blind eye to them, said the statement.
In September 2017, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) imposed an indefinite ban on ICOs.
Surprisingly, a large chunk of individual sellers remained active on the Taobao platform with services related to ICOs even after PBoC’s ban. Some of these went to the extent of drawing up ‘white papers’ with fake information to help ICO projects.
As of today, searching for the term ‘white papers’ in Mandarin still redirects to stores that offer white paper copywriting services for the banned ICO activities.
Online Vendors Find A Way Around Ban
In a sly move, online stores have slightly altered the term from ‘ICO’ to ‘I.CO’ to ensure they do not get caught.
The new regulations by Taobao also make it the latest internet platform to withdraw from associating with ICOs and blockchain related projects.
Given these developments, it certainly looks like it shall take some time for the digital world to accept cryptocurrencies completely.