Alibaba's Taobao Bars Crypto, ICO Services In Policy Update

Taobao, the internet shopping site under the e-commerce giant Alibaba, has updated its list of prohibited goods and services on the platform, which now includes those related to cryptocurrencies. In its latest update released on Tuesday, the site is now formally banning individual stores on its platform from providing services related to initial coin offerings (ICOs), such as technological development, marketing, and business proposal writing, among others.

To be effective starting from April 17, the new rules also aim to extend the platform's existing self-regulatory scope from previously banning the sale of individual virtual currencies to now any service or product that derives from a blockchain technology, including crypto-pets.

Meanwhile, the existing prohibition on selling cryptocurrency mining chips and offering mining tutorials remains unchanged.

Citing the notable clampdown by the People's Bank of China last September on ICOs in the country, Taobao stated that stores that violate the new rules by continuing offering these services will be punished.

Notably, various services related to ICOs have remained active among individual stores on Taobao after the PBoC ban last year, some of which knowingly helped ICO projects draw up white papers with fake information.

Currently searching by the term "Whitepaper" in Chinese characters could still lead to stores that offer white-paper copywriting services for blockchain and ICO fundraising activities. However, the term used by these stores has been slightly disguised and is rephrased as "I.CO"

Taobao's new ruling also makes it the latest internet platform to withdraw from offering a stage to ICOs and blockchain related projects, following recent bans on cryptocurrency-related ads by social media giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

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