Chinese Payment Provider UnionPay Warns Bitcoin OTC Traders About Illegal Payments

UnionPay has recently a “letter on the prohibition of providing payment services for illegal transactions,” which furthers their stern stance against illegal payments.

UnionPay is a Chinese financial services corporation headquartered in Shanghai, China. It provides bank card services and a major card scheme in mainland China. Founded on March 26, 2002, China UnionPay is an association for China's banking card industry, operating under the approval of the People's Bank of China (PBOC, the central bank of China). It is also the only interbank network in China that links all the automatic teller machine (ATMs) of all banks throughout the country. It is also an electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) network. It is the largest card payment organization (debit and credit cards combined) in the world offering mobile and online payments based on the total value of payment transactions, ahead of Visa and Mastercard.

The letter issued by UnionPay is centered around 27 Internet sales lottery platform websites and 25 virtual currency trading platforms. They warn that institutions should not provide services for unauthorized transactions and should build a thorough self-inspection and rectification process.

Notably, in August 2018, Alipay mobile payment processing service banned accounts that are affiliated with over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin trading. They put restrictions, or even outright banning accounts that propagate OTC cryptocurrency trading. Chinese technology giant Tencent banned over eight crypto-centric news outlets on its WeChat mobile platform, which has become a primary mode of communication in the Asian region. Citing new governmental regulations, Tencent noted that it banned these accounts due to suspicions of “publishing information related to initial coin offerings (ICOs),” along with spreading crypto-related hype.

Chapter V of Article 127 of the Civil Rights of China says:

“If the law provides for the protection of data and virtual property of the network, it shall be in accordance with its provisions.”

However, keeping the recent events in mind, this looks like a grey area in the country.

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