China gags crypto millionaires in fight against ‘luxury on the internet’

Users of social media platforms like X and Instagram are accustomed to seeing crypto millionaires posting snapshots of their extravagant lifestyles. However, one nation’s millionaires are notably absent from the gaudy feed of crypto influencers: China.

In an attempt to enforce communist culture on mainland residents, the country’s internet regulator recently outlawed extravagant displays of wealth on social media. China’s Cyberspace Administration attracted attention to the rule by deleting a number of popular celebrities’ social media accounts. These included the 4.3 million-follower account of ‘China’s Kim Kardashian’ Wang Hongquanxing, which now shows an inaccessibility notice for ‘violation of self-discipline.’

“Once materialism starts spreading, it can have a bad influence on teenagers,” wrote state-controlled Beijing News about the crackdown. ”Hence this trend of luxury on the internet needs to be stopped.”

According to state-controlled publication Global Times, China’s version of TikTok, Douyin, has deleted over 4,700 wealth-boasting posts this month while the country’s version of Instagram, Xiaohongshu, deleted over 380 accounts.

Read more: China wants all metaverse users tagged and monitored like its citizens

Censored crypto millionaires in China

It’s difficult to imagine social media life as a crypto millionaire in China. Many crypto leaders adopt principles from the book 48 Laws of Power in order to attract attention to their tokens and projects and, according to the cult classic, charismatic leadership involves adorning oneself in jewelry, claiming one’s wealth is self-made, and asking followers to make sacrifices to attain success.

The quintessential status symbol of crypto wealth is, of course, a Lamborghini, with the cheapest used models starting at around $84,000. New models far exceed $200,000.

Across the globe, crypto millionaires have flaunted their ‘Lambos,’ Rolex watches, and designer outfits in crypto lifestyle videos since 2018.

Without access to social media and a prohibition on flaunting jewelry, designer clothing, or other ‘wealth show-offs, it’s unsurprising that most famous Chinese crypto leaders reside outside of mainland China and its Great Firewall.

  • Binance’s Changpeng Zhao was born in China but spent most of his career abroad. He failed at staying humble on social media, assuring his fans that he was “really not that rich” because his net worth was less than $74 billion.
  • Tron’s Justin Sun was born in China and had no reservations about posting extravagant opulence once he moved abroad. For example, he bought a rocketship ticket to space and a dinner with Warren Buffett.
  • Himalaya Coin’s Guo Wengui, born in China, posted music videos from his $28-million luxury yacht after leaving the mainland.

Read more: A career timeline of Justin Sun, crypto’s most annoying over-marketer

Bought bitcoin below $10 but keeping it cool online

Crypto millionaires who maintain residential ties to mainland China are careful to temper their social media posts. Bobby Lee, co-founder of BTC China (now BTCC), still spends time behind the Great Firewall and keeps a modest social media presence, despite buying bitcoin since 2011 when it was below $10

Similarly, Yi He, the mother of Zhao’s child, remained in China while managing billions of Binance’s assets yet kept a modest profile on social media.

It’s difficult to get a true sense of the crypto wealth in China. Historically, Chinese investors have dominated the bitcoin mining industry and many were founding investors in crypto offerings that have returned six- and seven-figure percentage returns since their ICOs.

However, due to its Cyberspace Administration’s measures against ostentatious online displays online, only local residents truly understand the scope of crypto wealth inside China.

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