The major cryptocurrency exchange Binance has just come back online following a few hours of an outage that began earlier today.
 
At 2:28 PM, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced via his Twitter account (@CZ_Binance) that server issues were affecting all withdrawals. At the time, he assured users that the team were aware of the exact issue and estimated a one to two hour repair time. A follow-up announcement at 3:40 PM confirmed all services are back up and running, although no exact details of the problem were provided.
 

Alipay deny involvement with Binance

A few days prior, Binance announced that it had added support for fiat payments via popular Chinese payment channels WeChat and Alipay, despite cryptocurrencies being banned in China. The confirmation was given by the CEO himself in response to a Twitter post asking “Is #Binance now accepting fiat on-ramp with #Alipay and #Wechat pay?”. CZ simply replied: “Yes”.
 
However, soon after publications began reporting on the exciting news, Alipay issued a statement insisting that the platform does not support cryptocurrency-related activity. The confusion is likely due to the fact that only fiat currency deposits to Binance via Alipay are supported, not direct purchases of cryptocurrencies. However, the widespread coverage could now force Alipay to remove its support for Binance deposits.
 
“There’re several reports about Alipay being used for bitcoin transactions. To reiterate, Alipay closely monitors over-the-counter 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, Alipay immediately stops the relevant payment service,” it stated in a response via its official Twitter account (@Alipay).
The response is not surprising considering the current political climate in China. While Alipay may be able to allow these transactions if kept subtle, news reports may attract the wrong attention. There have been several reports lately of wealthy Chinese citizens moving money into Bitcoin as a hedge against declining economic conditions as a result of the ongoing U.S. trade war.
 
President Donald Trump has been hiking up tariffs on Chinese imports as a means to drive investment in local goods production, a move that has instigated conflict between the two countries. However, after two months of tense negotiations, it would appear a deal may soon be reached. China’s Vice Premier Liu He told Reuters yesterday that the country is ready to reach an agreement to stop any further escalation.