Police in China shut down a blockchain conference on Thursday, citing security risks, in a move that was contested by the organizers of the conference. The 2nd Global Fintech and Blockchain China Expo 2018 (GFBC) was brought to a halt by the authorities, reportedly because the police suspected that the organizers invited a fraudulent ICO team that had defrauded a sizable number of Chinese investors, some of whom were in attendance.
Agitated and outraged by the drastic actions of the Shanghai authorities, GFBC’s organizers promised to follow up on the matter to determine exactly why their conference was shut down. According to the organizers, security risks was the only reason given by the police, which was an insufficient explanation. It has, however, emerged that members of the crowd had informed the police about the aforementioned fraudulent ICO, leading to the crackdown. Addressing the confused crowd, the organizers promised them that they would hold a meeting to reschedule the expo.
The organizers went on to assure the crowd that the meeting was legal and that the fraudulent ICO’s team was not participating in the conference. They cautioned the crowd against spreading malicious rumors about the expo and also against listening to unfounded rumors propagated by “unscrupulous” media.
The one-day event is in its second year. It brought together over 800 delegates from research institutes, government institutions, financial institutions, the blockchain community, and the fintech industry to discuss the future of blockchain technology. The planned areas of focus were global payment systems, supply chain management, healthcare, the internet of things, governance, and digital identity authentication.
Among the scheduled speakers were Mike Raitsyn, the founder of ICOBox, Alex Bessonov, the founder of BitClave, Ryan Thoma, the marketing director for Exchange Union, David Drake, the chairman of LDJ Capital, and Edwin Zhang, the president of Fintech4Good. NEM, Dolphin Blockchain, Cointelligence and NewsBTC were some of the event’s sponsors.
China’s Erratic Cryptocurrency Market
The cryptocurrency market in China has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the last two years. Having been one of the early movers in the crypto space, the Chinese set global market trends, at one point accounting for at least 70% of the Bitcoin mining network. However, in recent days, the government has discouraged the growth of the market by banning ICOs and crypto exchanges.
The Chinese government’s regulatory framework has come under scrutiny from many crypto enthusiasts worldwide who view it as dictatorial and, in some cases, ill-informed. The ban on ICOs, for instance, denied Chinese citizens the opportunity to participate in startups which were quite promising both in China and globally. On the other hand, there is another faction of the crypto universe that views this as being a step in the right direction for the crypto space in China. While limiting the expansion of the market in the short term, the Chinese government is increasing the likelihood that those crypto projects that survive the current conditions are those that solve real issues and which deliver value to their users.