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Bitcoin in China: What’s going on in the crypto community

Bitcoin in China: What’s going on in the crypto community

Bitcoin in China: What’s going on in the crypto community

Wed Aug 11 2021 00:53:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In 2017, China’s Internet Finance Association stated that Bitcoin lacks legal foundations and to protect its people from the market’s volatility, China imposed stricter regulations on the industry. In the past few years, China has been one of the most active countries in shutting down crypto activities from mining to trading.

This 2021, the Chinese government intensified their crackdown on crypto with another warning against using cryptocurrency in trading. While there is no law in China that stops people from using cryptocurrencies, the government has cautioned the public about trading and mining cryptocurrencies.

Provinces in China drove out crypto mining companies with the ban issued in May 2021. In the same month, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) published a warning saying that any activity related to the exchange of fiat money for cryptocurrencies, conducting token-based trading, and providing services to facilitate crypto trade will be charged with a criminal offence.

However, China isn’t the only country to pursue a crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Thailand and South Korea also shared their sentiments with China and issued their own warnings to crypto users and trading companies. In June and July 2021, the Bank of Thailand warned people against using cryptocurrencies for payments of goods and services.

As one of the biggest markets of cryptocurrency as well as the centre of most operations in crypto trading and mining, China plays a big part in the crypto industry. With the turbulent relationship of crypto with China and other Asian countries, the future of crypto in Asia is fogged with uncertainty.

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Is it the end of Bitcoin in China?

China’s crackdown on crypto and especially on Bitcoin has been intense ever since the first issue in 2017. With China announcing that they will be working on their own digital currency, it became even harder for the crypto industry to break through and resume normal operations.

Cryptocurrency experts like Fred Thiel, CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings and a proud member of the Bitcoin Mining Council stated that the crackdown might be part of China’s effort to ensure the adoption of the upcoming digital currency created by their central bank. Another motivator could be that China is looking for a way to stem the capital outflow via cryptocurrencies and stable coins.

Thiel also said, ‘China’s government is doing everything it can to ensure that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies disappear from the Chinese financial system and economy.’ All of these are concerning for traders, miners and investors and it raises the question: Is this the end of Bitcoin in China?

As events continue to develop in China, the answer to that question is still unclear. However, Bitcoin is a well established digital currency that pioneered decentralized operations in finance. Even with China banning crypto, it will be impossible for them to completely take it down. Of course, events in China can still affect Bitcoin’s value, but these can be easily reversed as the operations move offshore and traders deposit their crypto in overseas exchanges.

Over the whole debacle on the crackdown, Bitcoin has remained resilient, with operations that were halted in China only moving offshore. Despite all the regulations enforced on traders and users, Bitcoin continues to thrive in China. Instead of relying on RMB transfer, Bitcoin traders are now using the US dollar-linked cryptocurrency, USDT to buy Bitcoin and deposit it on overseas exchange, effectively trading Bitcoin. In a way, it became an underground currency instead of completely disappearing in the crypto scene in China.


Hope in the midst of a crackdown

Cryptocurrency is still not recognized as legal tender in most Asian countries. This is a concerning issue that can affect the marketability of crypto since it limits the use of cryptocurrencies on trade. Fortunately, there seems to be a light shining through the turbulent relationship between cryptocurrency and China.

During a panel hosted by CNBC on April 19, 2021, deputy governor of PBOC, Li Bo called Bitcoin an investment alternative for the first time since the crackdown. Although the regulatory framework that China has on crypto remains unchanged, the Chinese government’s statement on Bitcoin being an ‘investment alternative’ is definitely an improvement from the former ‘non-legal tender’.

To clarify, China still doesn’t recognise Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies as actual currency. However, the government is starting to acknowledge that it plays a part in the area of investments and now regards it as crypto-assets.

Li Bo mentioned that China is still looking into crypto and what regulations they can apply to prevent risks of financial instability in the country.

Is it safe to invest in Bitcoin in Asia right now?

Bitcoin remains in the legal grey area for most countries. Some are still trying to figure out how to regulate cryptocurrencies in an effort to prevent any criminal transactions to be made in these decentralized platforms.

Even simply searching for crypto-related keywords will yield no result in the popular Chinese media outlet, Weibo. It is a difficult time not just for Chinese traders but also for the rest of the crypto community all over the world.

China has a prominent effect on the crypto market all over the world. With the country’s persistent crackdown on crypto, Bitcoin trading from major cryptocurrency exchanges fell by more than 40% in June 2021. The price of crypto also fell below the $30,000 mark within the same month.

Despite the devastating effect of the intense crackdowns by China, the crypto community around the world continues to persist and thrive. In China, crypto investors are finding new ways to trade without using RMB and the China-based crypto exchanges that were not able to get a license in China like OKE moved overseas to continue operations. Meanwhile, halted mining companies in China gave way for other mining companies in the world to thrive and pick up the slack.

Crypto might be under fire right now but as other countries reject the innovative and decentralized way of crypto, other countries like the El Salvador are making Bitcoin an official currency, while USA, European Union, Canada and Australia have taken a positive stance in the development of crypto as an alternative exchange.

Words by: Ana Gabrielle Gundran

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Bitcoin in China: What’s going on in the crypto community