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China Bitcoin Crackdown: Internet Finance Authority Seeks Regulatory Framework

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM

As Beijing’s crackdown on bitcoin exchanges, a senior executive at China’s internet finance association has called for a regulatory framework for virtual currencies.

Li Lihui, a senior official at China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) and a former president of the Bank of China has called for a stringent regulatory framework for digital currencies in China, according to Reuters . Lihui was speaking at an industry conference in Shanghai when he called for global regulators to work together to support the development of digital currencies.

Li was reportedly quick to make the distinction between state-backed, central bank-developed digital currencies and stateless digital currencies like bitcoin. While details are scarce, Li reportedly added that digital currencies developed by authorities and held up with regulatory oversight could prove beneficial to society.

In expressing his opinion about China’s crackdown on initial coin offering (ICOs) and the wider cryptocurrency industry, Li stated:

I understand (the crackdown) is all about protecting market stability and protecting the interests of investors, so halting these kinds of initial coin offerings is a very necessary action from the regulators.

Earlier this week, the NIFA notably led with a warning thatlabeledd bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a tool for illegal activities. Further, the authority stated that regional bitcoin exchanges had no legal basis to operate in China.

Chinese regulators began this month’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry with a sweeping ban on all ICOs last week. On Thursday, one of China’s ‘big three’ exchanges and the world’s oldest bitcoin trading platform, BTCC, announced it will suspend all trading of cryptocurrency pairs at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, is in the process of developing its own digital currency after revealing plans to do so in early 2016. Following a successful blockchain-based digital currency trial that concluded in December, China’s central bank opened a ‘digital currency Institute’ this year in Beijing.

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