The Weibo account of the founder of the smart contract platform Tron has reportedly disappeared suddenly. The news follows crypto-related accounts at the platform being shut down last month.
The development seems to support the narrative that China is in favour of blockchain technology but not of existing crypto projects. However, other prominent cryptocurrency personalities and companies have not disappeared from the social media platform.
Crypto Founder is Silenced on Weibo
According to Chinese crypto reporter and adviser Dovey Wan, Justin Sun’s Weibo account has suddenly disappeared. Weibo is often referred to as the Chinese Twitter. It is used by a reported quarter of the 1.38 billion strong population.
BREAKING and FINALLY … @justinsuntron 's weibo (Chinese Twitter) account is now officially SHUT DOWN
totally not surprised given how loud he has been on Weibo even after the Buffet Lunch/kidney stone drama…
"Blockchain, not crypto", and of course, not TRON pic.twitter.com/nUsOKm8daP
— Dovey 以德服人 Wan (@DoveyWan) December 12, 2019
In Wan’s tweet, she states that Sun’s removal seems consistent with China’s ‘blockchain, not crypto’ narrative. However, it doesn’t look like Weibo has gone on an industry-wide cull of accounts yet. Wan also reports that the account of Changpeng Zhao and Binance (at which he is CEO) are still active.
The news follows similar account disappearances last month. According to a report in TechNode, the official accounts of Binance and the Tron Foundation vanished in mid-November. The former company has replaced its account with another, which is the one Wan referred to as still active today. Many other prominent exchange accounts, such as OKEx and Huobi, remained active, however.
Wan muses that Sun’s online persona might have been responsible for him attracting the attention of the platform ahead of others. Sun is not known to shy away from attention on social media. On Twitter, he frequently promotes Tron using “like and share” type competitions, and is clearly quite fond of a big publicity stunt.
The Weibo social media platform has also long been associated with Chinese government censorship. In 2012, the Communist Party of China (CPC) laid down a long set of rules for the company. Lots of popular bloggers on the platform quickly got the chop at the time, suggesting that political pressure can indeed result in accounts disappearing from the network.
Given the disappearances of accounts last month and today, and China’s recent endorsement of blockchain whilst appearing to clampdown on various cryptocurrency activities, it might well be that we are seeing anti-crypto censorship at the nation’s largest social network. In her original tweet, Wan seems to celebrate this censorship, stating “finally” before disclosing the news of Sun’s account disappearing. However, such government censorship could well be the start of an even greater kickback against the industry.
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