Huobi, OKEx and Binance — some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, which originated in China and which focus on Chinese investors and traders — have been blocked by the country’s most popular internet search engines and social media platforms. 

Fast Facts:

  • Baidu — China’s most heavily used search engine — and its peer Sogo, alongside Twitter-like platform Weibo and Quora-like Zhihu, began blocking the keywords “Huobi,” “OKEx” and “Binance” as search terms in both Chinese and English last night. 
  • Searches for “OKEx” on Baidu currently yield no results other than a notification that reads: “Sorry, there is no website related to OKEx.” Similar results appear in searches for “Binance” on Weibo. All the blocked keywords nevertheless remain searchable on WeChat, China’s biggest instant messaging app. 
  • Chinese netizens have appear to have mixed feelings about the latest exercise in censorship of the three crypto exchanges. On the one hand, some say it represents a major reiteration of the government’s ban on crypto trading in China. On the other, some say that censoring search results is a gentler approach than an outright block on the crypto exchanges’ websites. 
  • It is not the first time that Beijing has censored or blocked crypto-related internet content. Just three days earlier, 30 influential Chinese cryptocurrency-related Weibo accounts were blocked. And in March, the official Weibo accounts of Huobi, OKEx and Binance were suspended.