China’s ongoing struggle to get cryptocurrency control is raging on, with a new wave of measures meant to reign in the volatile but popular markets for digital currency in-nation.
The latest salvo?
China is apparently blocking access to 124 different offshore cryptocurrency exchanges, according to South China Morning Post reports. The ban will mean that Chinese citizens will be unable to use the exchanges, effectively ending their local operations.
These new actions come hand-in-hand with the Chinese government’s ongoing to attempts to crackdown on and limit crypto trading. According to state-run Shanghai Securities News, domestic cryptocurrency exchanges will continue to be monitored and closed down, as will initial coin offerings (ICOs). Businesses accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment are on the list as well.
The news follows an announcement by WeChat — the nation’s leading social media platform — that it had banned a handful of cryptocurrency media outlets from its platform. The firms managed to draw the ban after complaints emerged that they were creating hype around cryptocurrencies and ICOs, both of which are violations of Chinese law.
There have been no official explanations offered for the latest round of crypto crackdowns out of the Chinese central bank. Experts have opined that the move comes as central bankers are becoming increasingly concerned with protecting China’s financial stability — and using crypto regulatory actions as a means by which to shore up the nation’s economic prospects.
How much will these latest actions matter? As always, that is an open question. Both ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges are already illegal in China. That ban, however, has not stopped crypto businesses from running in the country, and China has seen multiple cryptocurrency-related frauds over the last year. There’s a lot of interest, and regulators are having a hard time ruling that away by fiat.
And it remains unknown if the latest crackdown will do much to stop genuine enthusiasts — most of the bans on websites can be easily overcome with the help of virtual private network (VPN) services and privacy-oriented browsers.