China has been trying to limit cryptocurrencies for a long time without much success. In 2019, cryptocurrency trading was banned; however, the practice persisted. Earlier this year, the Chinese government restricted banks and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions and warned buyers they would have no protection if they traded cryptocurrencies, reported the BBC.
Last week, China banned all cryptocurrency transactions and announced that ten regulatory agencies will work together to enforce the ban, reported Alun John, Samuel Shen, and Tom Wilson of Reuters.
Cryptocurrency is “any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions,” according to Merriam Webster.
China also banned cryptocurrency mining. Unlike many types of money, cryptocurrency is not issued by a nation’s central bank. It is mined using an energy-intensive process that “relies on many distributed computers verifying and checking transactions on a giant shared ledger known as the blockchain,” reported the BBC. Prior to the ban, China was one of the world’s largest mining centers because of its relatively low energy costs and inexpensive computer hardware.
The ban doesn’t mean China won’t have digital currency. China’s central bank is developing an official digital currency that is being tested now and is expected to be introduced more widely next year. “The ban on crypto appears designed to build support for the official digital currency while signaling to Chinese residents that financial transactions must be traceable and won’t be tolerated on decentralized blockchains,” reported Daren Fonda and Joe Woelfel of Barron’s.”
The United States also is considering how to regulate cryptocurrencies.
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