Searches on e-commerce platform Taobao for copywriting services for creating blockchain, ICO, and Bitcoin-related white papers now yield zero results, Bianews reported (in Chinese). The products or kits were services used that for a fee would draft a company proposal or ICO pitch to attract investors. The services were aimed at blockchain companies in China.

An announcement by the People’s Bank of China in early September 2017 warned of the risks of token offerings and stipulated that all ICO activity must stop. The availability of Taobao services for drafting ICO, blockchain and Bitcoin-related white papers was first brought to our attention by Coindesk in mid-February, over five months since the ICO ban.

The services cost anything from several hundred RMB to several hundred thousand. One Taobao seller was reporting sales of over 8,000 a month, according to BTC123 (in Chinese). The 20-30 page reports helped with token development and operation. According to a report by The Beijing News (in Chinese), the providers of the services were also prepared to falsify the backgrounds of the supposed team members of the buyer. They would even build a website for the new venture.

The National Internet Finance Association of China has repeatedly issued reports on initial coin offering activity, most recently its Guarding Against the Risks of Disguised ICO Activity at the end of January 2018.

Taobao writing services
Various writing services available on Taobao such as essays for foreign university applications (Screenshot from Taobao)

Other writing services such as love letters or essays for a foreign university application are still very much available on Alibaba-owned Taobao.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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