Alibaba Payments App to Step Up Scrutiny Over Crypto OTC Trading

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Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, is cooperating with Chinese regulators to scrutinize peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading on its Alipay mobile app.

Beijing News, a media outlet administrated by the Communist Party, reported Friday that Ant Financial is beefing up efforts to monitor both merchant and customer accounts, as well as notable sites that integrate the Alipay gateway to facilitate over-the-counter (OTC) crypto trading.

A spokesperson from Ant Financial told CoinDesk that “Alipay adheres to the principle of not providing services for virtual currency transactions,” adding:

“We have been and will continue to closely monitor over-the-counter trading activities. If we find any transactions that we suspect are related to virtual currencies, we take appropriate measures including, but not limited to suspension of related fund transfers and permanently restricting payment collection functions of accounts involved.”

However, the company did not offer details on whether or how many accounts it had already found to be involved with crypto trading.

The news follows yesterday’s report that Chinese financial regulators are now seeking to block the internet access to over 100 overseas crypto trading platforms that are still providing services to Chinese investors.

WeChat Pay, another prominent mobile payments app launched by the internet giant Tencent, has been monitoring and blocking accounts that are suspected of making crypto transactions, as CoinDesk reported previously.

Following the notable ban on crypto trading and initial coin offerings from People’s Bank of China in September 2017, major Chinese exchanges all shifted their businesses overseas but continued to offer crypto-to-fiat OTC trading.

Alipay, WeChat Pay and bank transfer have since been used as ways for Chinese residents to purchase cryptocurrency assets.

Alipay image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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