Chinese Bitcoin Investors Flee WeChat for Telegram
There has been quite a scare going on in China since the government decided that they wanted Bitcoin exchanges shut. Most Chinese traders would have gone onto WeChat and spoken to their local dealers in order to buy or sell coins. They also use the app for all of their Bitcoin related conversations.
However, WeChat is a subsidiary of Tencent which is a Chinese company. As such, there are concerns that the Chinese government could actively be monitoring the conversations of the users. Hence, many users decided to move onto other encrypted apps in order to avoid this scrutiny.
One of the apps that has been getting the overflow of Chinese users is Telegram. This chat application was created with privacy as the main goal and has some of the strongest encryption of any chat applications that exist.
Crackdown on Conversations?
At first, China took the step of outlawing ICOs. They viewed these tokens as directly in opposition to their securities laws. Then they took the step of moving onto general FIAT for Cryptocurrency exchanges. This was done so that the government could limit investors ability to buy the coins.
However, things have taken a much more sinister route as there was speculation that the admins of WeChat groups would be held personally responsible for the conversations that took place in them.
Hence, there is such a level of scepticism that these users are not taking chances with Chinese technology that could be within the reach of the government. In these new telegram groups, users are speaking about solutions to move their digital tokens overseas and ways in which they can further strengthen their privacy.
The Great Chinese Firewall
Bitcoin traders may have reason to believe that WeChat would not have their best interests at heart. In order to operate effectively inside China, technology companies have to adhere to the rules that have been laid out for digital information. This is something that companies such as Google and Facebook have discovered.
This includes censorship of certain topics and images which are politically sensitive or that could threaten the government. Moreover, these companies have to keep all user information and data on their servers for at least 6 months. According to Lokman Tsui who is an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
If you are a group chat leader you have two choices, either you are going to super actively monitor the group, because your livelihood is at stake or you’re going to delete the group
This has resulted in a number of these Cryptocurrency groups on WeChat to disband voluntarily as the admins have decided that the risk is too great to be subverting the rules of the government.
According to some rough estimates, about 30 Telegram groups have opened up with those traders who are fleeing WeChat. These groups comprise about 1,000 users per room which is quite sizeable for chat groups.
Featured Image via Fotolia
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.