Blockchain Week with Vitalik nonetheless taking place, ‘Bitcoin’ searches on WeChat hit 26M in a day – Cointelegraph Journal
This weekly roundup of news from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate top industry news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and blockchain integrations in businesses.
In this 30th edition of the Shanghai Man column, we preview Wanxiang Shanghai Blockchain Week, an offline event that is usually the largest blockchain conference on the Chinese calendar. In the coming week, despite all the regulatory raids, the event is set to still take place, albeit with a one-month delay from its usual location in mid-September.
The flagship event
Historically, Wanxiang Blockchain Week has attracted huge crowds of industry participants, including traders, investors, developers, financial institutions, and traditional businesses. The three-day event is usually supplemented by a dense program of side events that focus on areas such as DeFi or network-specific meetups.
Last year, after the COVID-19 lockdowns, the event was much more muted, especially as there was a lack of foreign speakers such as Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood to be physically present. These two thought leaders both have strong ties to Shanghai and have always helped raise the event’s profile from a technical point of view.
An advertisement for the Wanxiang Blockchain Summit this year focuses on digital transformation. Source: Wanxiang Blockchain Labs
Wanxiang Blockchain is a large investment firm backing some of the strongest projects in the field. It has invested over 100 billion RMB in over 200 projects that work much like the Consensys of the East. His connections with the China Wanxiang Group give him a prominent position in the business world, including a closer relationship with corporations and government resources.
This year’s event will take place on October 26th and 27th. Keynote speeches by Vitalik Buterin from Ethereum, Sergey Nazarov from Chainlink, Yat Siu from Animoca Brands and Anatoly Yakovenko from Solana are planned. It’s not clear if any of them will physically attend the event, but given China’s strict quarantine restrictions and cryptocurrency policies, it is more likely that they will give the speech on video.
In the past, most of the speeches focused on infrastructure and applications rather than cryptocurrencies and trade-related activities. This has enabled the event to continue to attract government officials despite increasingly negative politics.
The Metaverse and NFT arts are two subjects that have managed to avoid the wrath of regulators. As a result, a number of related events have been brought together in what is known as the Shanghai Metaverse Week, which may be just a subtle way for Blockchain Week events to evade government scrutiny. This Metaverse Week is hosted by partners such as Litentry, Polygon, Harmony, Flow, Tezos and Mask Network. The event is planning exclusive live streams in Decentraland.
Changes in the ranks
The searches that contained the keyword “Bitcoin” on WeChat rose to nearly 26 million on October 15, fueled by news of an ETF approval in the US. That attention hasn’t been seen since the middle of the summer when regulatory crackdowns brought a lot of attention to the asset.
The exchange volumes tell an interesting story, as OKEx has been gaining traction lately and, according to FTX, is clearly in second place after Binance with around 11% of the total market share global volume monitor. Huobi, who announced that it would limit the use of the platform for Chinese users in late 2021, has struggled to keep up with OKEx and has now slipped to fourth place behind FTX and just a few billion dollars a day ahead of ByBit.
Huobi dominated the CeFi scene between 2014 and 2016, where it enjoyed a long time as the highest-volume exchange. Now, a new wave of CeFi exchanges, led by FTX and ByBit, is beginning to feed on the dominance of traditional CeFi leaders Huobi, Binance and OKEx, collectively known as HBO.
Capture the NFT trend
A number of large companies have discontinued their own NFTs these days, including e-commerce giant JD.com. The trader, who has its own blockchain, is let go a set of seven NFT models through its WeChat gadget later that year.
Last week, the logistics company DHL also announced an NFT launch in the VeChain mainnet. These NFTs are popping up to reward customers, but with the strict guidelines, these NFTs are unlikely to end up in open marketplaces exposing many users to the larger cryptocurrency ecosystem.
DHL used VeChain’s ToolChain to create these NFTs for its retail users. Source: DHL
Losing to the US
An announcement on the National Development Reform Commission website announced that the US has now overtaken China as the world’s leading Bitcoin mining country. The short article boasts that this transformation happened just two months after Beijing made cryptocurrency mining illegal.
It is unclear whether this article is to be taken literally or not as a very subtle but sarcastic reminder that recent political decisions may not be in the best interests of the country.