China declares all crypto-related transactions illegal and forbids overseas exchanges from serving its citizens
- The People's Bank of
Chinasaid Friday that all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal.
- The central bank said cryptocurrencies "are not legal, and should not and cannot be used as currency in the market."
- It also banned foreign exchanges from providing
cryptoservices to local residents in China's biggest crackdown move yet.
China's central bank declared all cryptocurrency-related transactions illegal on Friday, and said foreign exchanges are banned from providing services to Chinese residents, in its strongest crackdown move yet on the digital asset industry.
Virtual currencies do not have the same legal standing as fiat currency as they are issued by non-monetary authorities and use encryption technology, it said.
The PBOC also said all crypto-related transactions are not allowed under the law.
Activities considered illegal cover a range of operations, such as buying and selling virtual assets as a central counterparty, and providing intermediary or pricing services for crypto transactions. It also includes token issuance financing, crypto derivatives transactions, and other activities suspected of illegal sale of tokens.
"Those who carry out related illegal financial activities (that) constitute a crime shall be investigated for criminal responsibility in accordance with the law," it said.
The central bank specifically called out the services offered by offshore crypto exchanges to Chinese customers via online platforms.
"The provision of services by overseas virtual currency exchanges to Chinese residents through the internet is also an illegal financial activity," it said.
Local employees at foreign crypto exchanges that continue to operate illegally, and those who provide services such as marketing and payments to them, will be investigated in accordance with the law, the PBOC said.
In its directive, the central bank said the hype around crypto has disrupted financial order in China, and provided a breeding ground for fraud, gambling, money laundering and pyramid scheme scams.
National regulators - including the Central Cyberspace Administration, the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Public Security - plan to work together on these issues, it said.
China's latest move could disrupt the evolution of crypto, but not necessarily in the way it wants to, according to Daniel Lane, senior analyst at UK-based fintech Freetrade.
"China's actions will undoubtedly prove a big short-term blow to crypto, but it is most definitely not the end," Lane said. "The sector is moving at lightspeed and has already evolved beyond most people's understanding of bitcoin. To think a ban will stop all activity is optimistic at best and quite naive at worst."
The nation's efforts towards developing its own central bank digital currency is seen as the most advanced among major economies. It is the only developing nation to have released a national rollout of its CBDC.
Read More: Ahead of bitcoin's $3 billion options expiry this Friday, 5 experts told us how much the crypto and other leading altcoins can surge or fall from here: 'if markets bleed, they will bleed as a group.'
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