Organizers of various crypto communities on WeChat are shutting down their private groups following the latest crackdown from China’s central bank, according to screenshots obtained and authenticated by CoinDesk.
Among these groups are crypto exchange giant FTX, which until recently was based in Hong Kong; proof-of-stake blockchain network Tezos; and derivative liquidity protocol Synthetix. It remains unclear whether organizers of such groups are employed by the companies.
The community organizers are encouraging group members to join their new or existing Chinese Telegram group, while some of the members are also creating new channels for their communities on Discord.
The move came after the People’s Bank of China started carrying out an extensive crackdown on crypto last week, declaring all crypto-related transactions illegal. According to the latest notice, individuals who live inside China but work for off-shore crypto exchanges can be subject to legal prosecution.
“TZ (Tezos) APAC will move the group to Telegram based on the feedback from our members, and there will be the latest news and community activities in the Telegram group,” an organizer named tezos.Care said in a public notice in the group. “To build the community on Telegram, we will host a few fun activities starting from October, only on Telegram.”
WeChat, which is one of the most popular social media platforms in China, has been a crucial part of community building for crypto projects in the country. The projects tend to have multiple WeChat groups because there can only be up to 500 people in one group on the platform. Members share news such as airdrops (the sending of free tokens to wallet addresses), price movements and technical upgrades about the projects in the groups.
CORRECTION (Sept. 29, 19:04 UTC): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that FTX was based in Hong Kong. The crypto exchange recently moved its headquarters to the Bahamas.