Report: Chinese media ban on bitcoin conference has negligible effect

Home » Report: Chinese media ban on bitcoin conference has negligible effect
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On Friday, China Digital Times leaked a notice from the Chinese government asking media outlets not to report on this weekend’s The Global Bitcoin Summit in Beijing. The media ban follows increased scrutiny on bitcoin from the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, and closures of bitcoin-related accounts from almost all of China’s bajor banks. Representatives from the major Chinese bitcoin exchanges also withdrew from the event due to increased government pressure.

The notice reads:

The Global Bitcoin Summit 2014 will be held on May 10-11 in Beijing. All websites are asked not to participate in or report on the summit. Do not hype bitcoins. All reporting on bitcoins must henceforth accord with the specifications of financial regulatory agencies. Please carry out the above immediately.

According to a report on CoinDesk, however, the media ban appears to have had a negligible effect on the conference itself. Reporter Jon Southurst claims that the event’s main 400-seat auditorium was mostly full for the event, and that keynote speakers Roger Ver, Aaron Koenig of the Global Bitcoin Alliance, and Wang Wei of the Chinese Museum of Finance were well received by an enthusiastic crowd. According to Southurst, “The overall tone was not so much defiance, but apathy towards greater regulation.”

Interestingly, it appears that even the Chinese bitcoin community is growing weary of the “China bans bitcoin” news.

Both the size and mood of the crowd confirmed what several of CoinDesk’s local Chinese sources have been saying for a while: The community at large is tired of hearing about banks vs. exchanges, and wants to keep building. How exactly they plan to do this without fiat gateways will be a discussion point tomorrow and in the coming months.

The report gives a blow-by-blow of the presentations, from Ver’s interest in promoting the bitcoin concept over investing in new startups, to Harry Zhou’s perspective on China’s tightening financial regulations.

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