China declares all cryptocurrency transactions illegal
BEIJING (AP) - China's central bank on Friday declared all transactions in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies illegal and stepped up a campaign to ban the use of unofficial digital money.
Chinese banks were banned from handling cryptocurrencies in 2013, but the government issued a warning this year. This reflected official concerns that mining and trading in cryptocurrencies may still be ongoing or that the state financial system may be indirectly exposed to risk.
Friday's announcement complained that Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies disrupt the financial system and are used in money laundering and other crimes.
"Virtual currency derivative transactions are all illegal financial activities and are strictly prohibited," the People’s Bank of China said on its website.
Proponents of cryptocurrencies say they allow anonymity and flexibility, but Chinese regulators fear they could weaken the ruling Communist Party's control over the financial system and say they could help cover up criminal activity.
People’s Bank of China is developing an electronic version of the country’s yuan for cashless transactions that can be tracked and controlled by Beijing.
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