Alibaba's Taobao Bars Crypto and ICOs in Policy Update

NEWS
Wolfie Zhao
Apr 11, 2018 at 07:00 UTC  |  Updated  Apr 11, 2018 at 12:51 UTC

Taobao, the internet shopping site owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba, has updated its list of prohibited goods and services to include cryptocurrency-related products.

In its latest update released on Tuesday, the site has now formally banned individual stores on its platform from providing services related to initial coin offerings (ICOs), such as technological development, marketing, and business proposal writing, among others.

Effective starting from April 17, the new rules also extend the platform's existing self-regulatory scope from a previous ban on the sale of individual virtual currencies to now any service or product that derives from a blockchain technology, including crypto commodities like CryptoKitties.

Further, the existing restriction on selling cryptocurrency mining devices and offering mining tutorials remains unchanged.

Citing the notable clampdown on ICOs by the People's Bank of China last September, Taobao stated that stores that violate the new rules by continuing offering these services will be punished.

Notably, various services related to ICOs have remained active among individual stores on Taobao after the PBoC ban last year, some of which knowingly helped ICO projects draw up white papers with fake information.

Currently searching by the term "white paper" in Chinese characters could still lead to stores that offer white-paper copywriting services for blockchain and ICO fundraising activities. However, the term used by these stores has been slightly disguised and is rephrased as "I.CO."

Taobao's new ruling also makes it the latest internet platform to withdraw from offering a stage to ICOs and blockchain related projects, following recent bans on cryptocurrency-related ads by social media giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Taobao image via Shutterstock

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