China’s top regulators ban crypto trading and mining

Published September 25, 2021
BEIJING: Visitors look at the e-CNY, a digital version of the Chinese Yuan, displayed during a trade fair.—AP
BEIJING: Visitors look at the e-CNY, a digital version of the Chinese Yuan, displayed during a trade fair.—AP

SHANGHAI: China’s most powerful regulators on Friday intensified the country’s crackdown on cryptocurrency with a blanket ban on all crypto transactions and mining, hitting bitcoin and other major coins and pressuring crypto and blockchain-related stocks.

Ten agencies, including the central bank as well as banking, securities and foreign exchange regulators, vowed to work together to root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activity, the first time the Beijing-based agencies have joined forces to explicitly ban all cryptocurrency-related activity.

China in May banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions, and issued similar bans in 2013 and 2017. The repeated prohibitions highlight the challenge of closing loopholes and identifying bitcoin-related transactions, though banks and payment firms say they will support the efforts.

Friday’s statement is the most detailed and comprehensive yet from the country’s most powerful regulators, underscoring Beijing’s commitment to suffocating the Chinese crypto market.

“In the history of crypto market regulation in China, this is the most direct, most comprehensive regulatory framework involving the largest number of ministries,” said Winston Ma, NYU Law School adjunct professor.

The move comes amid a global cryptocurrency crackdown as governments from Asia to the United States fret that privately operated highly volatile digital currencies could undermine their control of the financial and monetary systems, increase systemic risk, promote financial crime and hurt investors.

They also worry that “mining,” the energy-intensive process through which bitcoin and other tokens are created by high performing computers, is undermining global environmental goals.

Chinese government agencies have repeatedly raised concerns that cryptocurrency speculation could disrupt the country’s economic and financial order, one of Beijing’s top priorities.

Analysts say authorities also see cryptocurrencies as a threat to China’s own sovereign digital-yuan, which is at an advanced pilot stage.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said cryptocurrencies must not circulate and that overseas exchanges are barred from providing services to mainland investors. It also barred financial institutions, payment companies and internet firms from facilitating cryptocurrency trading nationally.

The Chinese government will “resolutely clamp down on virtual currency speculation, and related financial activities and misbehavior in order to safeguard people’s properties and maintain economic, financial and social order”, the PBOC said.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, drop­ped more than 9 per cent to $40,693 on the news, having earlier been down about 1pc.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Ties with Tehran
Updated 24 Apr, 2024

Ties with Tehran

Tomorrow, if ties between Washington and Beijing nosedive, and the US asks Pakistan to reconsider CPEC, will we comply?
Working together
24 Apr, 2024

Working together

PAKISTAN’S democracy seems adrift, and no one understands this better than our politicians. The system has gone...
Farmers’ anxiety
24 Apr, 2024

Farmers’ anxiety

WHEAT prices in Punjab have plummeted far below the minimum support price owing to a bumper harvest, reckless...
By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...