China’s Ban on Cryptocurrencies Isn’t Just About Control

Workers demonstrate the use of the e-CNY, a digital version of the Chinese yuan, during the China International Fair for Trade in Services, Beijing, China, Sept. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
Workers demonstrate the use of the e-CNY, a digital version of the Chinese yuan, during the China International Fair for Trade in Services, Beijing, China, Sept. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).
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China’s Central Bank and 10 other government bodies announced on Sept. 24 that all transactions involving cryptocurrencies are now illegal, effectively banning the use of Bitcoin in the country. The move is the latest in a series of measures aimed at curbing the use of cryptocurrencies that goes back years. Trading in cryptocurrencies has been banned in China since 2019, but it has continued online through foreign exchanges. In May 2021, financial institutions and payment companies were prohibited from providing services related to cryptocurrencies, bolstering similar bans issued in 2013 and 2017. On one level, it is unsurprising that an authoritarian government […]

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