The Chinese government may be moving to suppress bitcoin adoption by limiting access to popular industry websites such as Blockchain, BTC-e and Coinbase, sources say.
The reports follow the revelation that the Chinese government had sought to limit domestic media coverage ahead of last week's Beijing-based conference Global Bitcoin Summit, and that more extensive press restrictions have been implemented domestically.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Bitcoin Foundation board member-elect and BTC China CEO Bobby Lee confirmed that local web users had reported difficulty accessing certain popular bitcoin websites via PC computers:
"The blocking of these websites seems to be selective, affecting different parts of China at different times, for different durations."
He suggested that the Chinese government may be mounting an effort to destabilize these sites to give the appearance that they are unreliable.
He further noted that the actions are not unprecedented, as China has previously taken steps to block users from accessing websites such as Google.
Though the full number of websites potentially affected by these issues is not yet known, sources told CoinDesk that a handful of the more notable bitcoin companies were affected.
Eric Gu, co-founder of venture capital firm BitAngelsClub, said that news of the website issues was first reported yesterday, explaining:
"Some people weren't able to access Blockchain wallets, and then we realized that BTC-e, and Coinbase were also on and off."
VC investor and CoinDesk contributor Rui Ma also took to Twitter to list some websites that were suspected of having been affected, noting that the issues were not observed on the companies' mobile websites.
— Rui Ma (@ruima) May 15, 2014
While another troubling development from one of bitcoin's more important markets, Gu told CoinDesk that the website issues will likely have little effect on a community that has become used to dealing with setbacks.
He went on to report that he still plans to attend an upcoming meetup in Shanghai, and that despite any actions from the government, 200 people are expected to attend to hear Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin speak.
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