Last week, various Chinese government-related entities gave mixed messages on cryptocurrencies, while Binance said it had been banned in Russia just days before Huobi launched a new crypto trading app in the same region. Finally, two interesting developments in privacy applications for blockchain came from China.

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The world of blockchain moves fast, and nowhere does it move faster than China. Here’s what you need to know about China’s block-world in the week of Sept. 22-29.

Mixed signals on crypto

  • More than RMB 1 trillion ($145.5 billion) flows out of China every year through illicit gambling operations, a senior official from the Ministry of Pubic Security said on Friday. Gambling and casinos are prohibited in mainland China.
  • Liao Jinrong, director general of the Ministry’s International Cooperation department, told Chinese media that law enforcement has a hard time tracking down the cryptocurrency flows. These outflows could undermine China’s economic security if the people running the illegal gambling operations collude with “foreign powers,” Jinrong said. (South China Morning Post)
  • On the same day, state-owned CCTV said cryptocurrencies are the year’s best performing asset. The report said the world’s biggest tokens have gained 70% in value so far in 2020, compared to 20% for gold (CCTV, in Chinese). Xinhua news agency published a similar report on Thursday (Xinhua, in Chinese).
  • The reporters cautioned investors that the market is volatile and attributed the price increase to the rise of decentralized finance and Covid-19.
  • China’s crypto community was perplexed as to whether this amounts to an endorsement of cryptocurrencies.
  • One thing the government certainly doesn’t like is over-the-counter trading in cryptocurrencies.
  • The People’s Bank of China is blacklisting over-the-counter cryptocurrency traders. Some OTC account holders on the list are forbidden from using their bank cards for five years, and not just bank accounts associated with crypto transactions. (Wu Blockchain)

Russia and crypto… it’s complicated

  • Chinese crypto exchange Binance has been blacklisted in Russia for disseminating information about trading in bitcoin, the company’s Russia director said on Friday. “Not sure if we should laugh or cry,” (translation via Facebook) Gleb Kostarev, director of Binance Russia said on the social media platform. The exchange was banned (in Russian) back in June but was just recently notified. (Kostarev Facebook account)
  • Just two days later, Huobi announced it is launching a crypto trading app in Russia that will enable users to trade in Bitcoin. (Huobi statement)

Blockchain boosts privacy

  • Ant Group, Tencent’s Webank, Tencent Cloud, Baidu, Intel, and Arpa co-authored a new set of standards aimed to help big data operators protect user privacy using a blockchain-based framework called privacy-preserving multi-party computation. The standards were unveiled at a conference organized by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology and the China Communications Standards Association. (Arpa official Medium account)
  • Chinese encryption startup Maskbook launched the first crypto trading plugin that enables users to trade on decentralized exchange Uniswap without leaving Twitter, powered by crypto information platform Coin Market Cap. Maskbook’s best-known product is a plugin for social media networks that provides end-to-end encryption on social media posts with the aim to safeguard user privacy. (Maskbook official Twitter account)

The mining companies

  • Micro BT, a rising Chinese mining rig maker, is setting up its first offshore manufacturing center in Southeast Asia. The rig maker will use the new factory to fulfill orders from US clients, avoiding a 25% tariff on China-made goods. The first order the new facility will fulfill is for newly established Foundry, a mining financing company based in the US and backed by Digital Currency Group. (Coindesk)

READ MORE: Is crypto mining really moving to North America?

Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza is TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter. When she isn't obsessing over the rise of distributed ledger technology in China, she helps with editing.