Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has added support for Chinese users of WeChat and Alipay, circumventing a Chinese ban on cryptocurrency exchanges by launching a P2P service that is accessible by Chinese citizens.
Binance’s P2P trading capability was announced October 9, 2019, giving Chinese investors the ability to trade bitcoin, ether and tether against the Chinese yuan. Access to the service was initially limited to Android users that have had Binance accounts for more than 30 days, with plans to offer the service to iOS and web users also announced.
However, amid the buzz and excitement over the news, it would seem that Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive of the exchange, caused some confusion concerning the incorporation of WeChat Pay and Alipay, two mobile payment platforms that are popular in China, into its payment ecosystem.
A Twitter user, who stumbled on the feature on her trading platform, took her discovery to social media to ask whether Alipay and WeChat Pay had indeed been added to the Binance payment system. Answering, Zhao simply said, “Yes.”
P2P, Not B2B
Zhao later pointed out that Binance isn’t working directly with Alipay or WeChat to make these features available.
“Some confusion by some news outlets,” he tweeted. “@Binance is not working directly with WeChat or Alipay. However, users are able to use them in P2P transactions for payment. Still not a small feat. But words/meaning get twisted as they are passed around.”
He clarified that users can indeed buy bitcoin through WeChat but that buyers would pay sellers directly.
For its part, Alipay clarified that all transactions that are identified as related to bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in any way will be stopped.
Since a cryptocurrency blanket ban in 2017, traders have searched for smart ways to go around the barrier and access bitcoin. For example, in August 2019, popular P2P exchange Hodl Hodl removed the Google CAPTCHA service that had been preventing Chinese traders from using its service.
Binance’s P2P move is yet another attempt to give Chinese investors the chance to accrue bitcoin.