Binance to support WeChat and Alipay for buying bitcoin in China

Quick Take

  • Crypto exchange Binance is set to support WeChat and Alipay channels for fiat on-ramp
  • The move will allow users in China to buy bitcoin through the channels
  • People familiar with the matter told The Block that the initiative is currently in a testing phase for Android users and will eventually be fully rolled out on iOS and Web

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is set to add two more channels to its fiat gateway - WeChat and Alipay, allowing users in China to buy bitcoin (BTC) with the two payment options.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao “CZ” confirmed the move on Twitter on Wednesday. People familiar with the matter told The Block that the initiative is currently in a testing phase for Android users and will eventually be fully rolled out on iOS and Web.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have officially been banned in China by the country's central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBoC), since late 2017. However, Chinese citizens can still buy bitcoin via peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms or through over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks. For instance, Huobi and OKEx were the main exchanges that facilitated Chinese Yuan (CNY) to BTC/USDT conversions disguised behind a P2P OTC desk.

With today's move, Binance has entered into the P2P trading space. Not only bitcoin, but Chinese users can also buy ether (ETH) and stablecoin Tether (USDT) with the P2P service. 

Interestingly, WeChat updated its payment policy in May, saying that it will terminate accounts of those users who engage in cryptocurrency trading. Alipay also was reportedly blocking accounts involved in bitcoin OTC trading.

“Technically, Binance as a P2P platform itself is NOT integrated with WeChat/Alipay payment, but the vendors or users on the platform accept WeChat/Alipay transaction for crypto trading,” a Binance spokesperson told The Block, adding:

“Binance only provides the onramp for OTC trading by building an intermediary platform on which both the merchants and the users trade freely.”

Meanwhile, Alipay seems to be not entirely on the same page with Binance regarding this move. 

"Alipay closely monitors over-the counter (OTC) transactions to identify irregular behavior and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. If any transactions are identified as being related to bitcoin or other virtual currencies, we immediately stop the relevant payment services," said an Alipay spokesperson. 

Binance has been expanding its fiat-to-crypto gateways, with recent launches in the U.S., Singapore, Uganda and Jersey, a British self-governing dependency. The exchange has also been planning to launch more such fiat-to-crypto exchanges in Argentina, Bermuda and Turkey, among other nations.

This story has been updated to include a comment from a Binance spokesperson.

© 2021 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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