Sina Finance, one of the largest financial news portals in China, has added a cryptocurrency index to its mobile app.
The feature, first reported by cnLedger on Wednesday, displays prices and performance of major cryptocurrencies as well as the latest industry news. The new feature is available on the Sina Finance’s mobile app, but not its web version.
The company has not issued an announcement regarding the new feature.
Cryptocurrency exchange services, wallets, and initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been banned in China since late 2017, but possession of bitcoin is legal.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been making their way back to the media spotlight. After Facebook announced its new cryptocurrency project Libra, China’s state-run media Xinhua News Agency published a report (in Chinese) last week stating that investor interest in cryptocurrencies is climbing as Bitcoin assumes characteristics of a “safe haven asset” against a backdrop of macroeconomic slowing and volatility in global capital markets.
As cryptocurrencies start showing signs of recovery from a long-standing bear market, interest from Chinese crypto watchers is rising. Early in June, Baidu keyword analytics showed a surge in bitcoin-related topics search. Alex Krüger, an economist and crypto trader, noted that growing interest in bitcoin from China reflects other parts of the world when comparing data from Baidu Trends and Google Trends.
In June, an app developed by Huobi, a Chinese-founded cryptocurrency exchange that relocated to Singapore after the crackdown in China, was trending on China’s iOS app store, according to online data providers Qimai and Kuchuaan,
Although cryptocurrency has gained more attention in the media, whether China will soften its stance against cryptocurrency is still a question. Earlier this year, the government proposed to phase out Bitcoin mining, a move that could have a serious impact since as much as 70% of Bitcoin mining took place in China last year.
However, an article published by state-run publication Global Times signaled concern about China sitting on the sidelines as other countries experiment with digital currencies. “If China cannot participate in this new phase of the digital economic revolution, then it may find itself in a passive position within currency competition, not to mention it could lose its advantages within the internet and financial technology sectors.”