Chinese online shopping website Taobao, often touted as the eBay of China, has now come through with their policy of banning stores from providing services regarding cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) through its platform, according to a press report that was published on 10 April. A subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce leaders Alibaba, set up in 2003, using which small-time businesses and individuals can put up items for sale in China.
The Hangzhou-based firm already had in place a policy putting ban on miners and consultations of altcoins. With the new update in policy, the very definition of digital currency and its scope in the country has been changed. Any product or services related to virtual currency or blockchain is to be affected in the platform because of this decision, including the sale of coins acquired through blockchain, like those for blockchain games and similar uses. The ban also includes services like marketing, consultancy, and business planning; as long as it has to do with cryptos or Initial Coin Offerings. Services like consultancy, marketing, and business planning are also affected by this ban if they are related to ICOs and altcoins.
These new regulations will be put into force from 17 April, and involve two very major changes. Firstly, the new rules put a much a wider meaning to the idea of virtual currencies, by incorporating ICOs and “similar digital products”. They also establish higher control over other services derived from the blockchain-based digital products.
The official statement read: “Taobao will follow the relevant laws and regulations of the State and stipulate the rules governing Taobao’s ban on the sale of goods. The relevant terms of the interpretation are changed.”
With this new framework in place, Taobao looks to keep customers protected from the various risks that come with ICO services, including easy speculations and undocumented fundraising. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) had made the decision to ban ICOs back in September 2017. Recalling PBoC’s decision, Taobao chose to remind users of the laws starting the ban on trading, exchange, pricing, brokerage, or any other services related to digital currencies.
Taobao has said that any store which violated these new rules and continues to offer ICO and white paper-related services will have to face strict disciplinary actions.
Alibaba had reportedly sued the Dubai-based firm Alibabacoin Foundation ICO, for infringement of copyrights and illegal and misleading use of the company’s name.