China’s stepped-up attack on the cryptocurrency industry — the authorities declared last Friday that activities such as crypto trading and mining are strictly illegal — has Chinese social media users abuzz. Forkast.News has been hanging out on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and offers this sampling of the conversations, grouped by theme, that Chinese Weibo users are having about their government’s latest crypto clampdown.

On Weibo, some feel they are not free to express themselves, adding they will either go silent on crypto matters on social media or go “underground” on group-chatting platform Discord or other channels.

Other online commentators voice support for the ban, saying it’s right for the government to crack down hard on the energy-consuming crypto mining industry when parts of the country are suffering from power shortages and even blackouts.

Still others shrug off the news and continue to broadcast their market predictions as if nothing ever happened.

Moving out from “The Great Firewall”

Under pressure of the nationwide crackdown, some crypto communities and bloggers on Chinese social media are moving out from  “The Great Firewall” — a name given to China’s expansive internet censorship reach, the largest and most complex online review agency to control whether sites can be freely accessed in mainland China. Many announced on Weibo that they would leave the Chinese social media platform and continue to speak on Twitter, or move their communities to Discord and Telegram.

A company that provides blockchain statistics, research report analysis and investment project rating services @TokenInsight said on Weibo: “No further posts will be updated on Weibo. We welcome friends who are still willing to communicate to join our Discord, Twitter and Telegram.”

The Ethereum & Bitcoin wallet @imToken said the community will soon move to Discord, and that users can join the group via a link in the comments section. And on Wednesday, imToken announced plans to limit some services to Chinese users.

A Chinese crypto-news media staff member said on Weibo: “The road is hindered and long, and the future can be expected. New and old friends, welcome to join our Telegram group.”

The staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, said the Telegram group was built on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, some 3,000 people had joined. She said they established the Telegram group because they were worried about China’s “one size fits all” regulation. They will not continue to update decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT)-related news on the domestic WeChat group.

The media group has a huge community on WeChat. The staff member said they have 600 to 1,000 groups on WeChat, and about 70% of the groups have reached the maximum member limitation. The maximum member in each WeChat group is 500, which means their community has at least 300,000 people.

However, she said, it is not yet known how many people will eventually be able to migrate outside the firewall. The staff member admitted the great firewall can block users who cannot use a VPN to access the internet.

Some support the crackdown

There are many people who support the crackdown on crypto trading and mining. They believe that cryptocurrency is a scam and hype, as the government maintains, and that crypto mining wastes a lot of electricity.

Most of the comments under state-owned media expressed support. Under China Daily’s social media piece on the cryptocurrency ban, popular comments included “Finally, finally started, nice,” and “I would rather invest in Evergrande, because every miller draws water to his own mill.”

A Weibo blogger with 110,000 followers, “Rui Si Tian Xia,” who claims to be a senior economist, said that “Bitcoin is just a string of worthless characters, basically a super scam, and mining can consume a lot of electricity. These are the reasons that it has to be a crackdown.”

Others blame crypto mining for the recent power shortages in China. A blogger called The Fatty Who Loves Tea said, “Jail all the virtual currency miners. The electricity they use in a year allows the Northeast people to cook at least a meal, a lighted traffic light and a well-functioning hospital.”

China is in the midst of a power supply crisis that has become severe in recent days. In the past month, 20 of 31 provincial-level jurisdictions have introduced power rationing measures, threatening the industrial production and drawing residents’ panic. Last Thursday, some traffic lights in Shenyang, the capital of the Northeast Rust Belt province of Liaoning, suddenly stopped working, causing serious traffic congestion; and the power cut caused 23 Chinese metal workers to be sickened by carbon monoxide. These incidents shocked Chinese social media.

Buy that dip!

Even under the crackdown pressure, on the topic of #bitcoin# on Weibo, analysts are still actively speaking. Some are persuading people not to exit the market, taking advantage of the Bitcoin dip, and waiting for a bull market after the regulatory limelight. At the same time, other analysts are advising investors to short Bitcoin.

On Tuesday, the blogger “Bitcoin Assassin” said: “Buying at the bottom, the analysis is meaningless here.”

Blogger “Finance expert – Xiao Feng” posted : “Bitcoin rose to 42760, and Ether rose to 2972, both in line with my short-selling plan, and now it is profitable on the downside as scheduled!”

And the blogger “Trader Shaoshuai” said: “Go short, I’m fed up with this falling market.” 

The blogger “Baozou Beiwei” said : “Some coin buyers panicked, and today several people said that they would sell all the coins to wait and see. I really think it’s okay. There should be a lot of space to short Bitcoin, and now it’s just a little bit down. You don’t have to be so pessimistic. Let’s take a look at the fourth quarter. Who can be sure that spring will never come?​​​​​”

The most popular post on #bitcoin# was a vote last Sunday to gauge public opinion on whether Bitcoin is going to a bull or bear market. Among more than 2,400 voters, 56% are still bullish on Bitcoin.