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Crypto-related money laundering next on China’s policy framework

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The People’s Bank of China, in its Financial Stability Report 2021, had pointed out that its clampdown on virtual currencies was complete.

Days after the release of the report, Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the Chinese central bank, commented on conventional tools of supervision. He said that the traditional regulatory methods were no longer sufficient to deal with money laundering activities.

According to Chinese journalist Colin Wu, the statement meant a further crackdown on money laundering activities involving cryptocurrencies.

Earlier in June, the Chinese police reportedly arrested over 1,100 suspects in crypto-related money laundering crimes. In 2020, the country ranked high in both, funds sent to and received, from darknet markets via money laundering services. Chainalysis report on Crypto Crime in 2021 also established that darknet vendors “typically launder funds through cryptocurrency services” in China.

For better supervision, Xiaochuan reiterated the use of emerging digital technologies. After achieving its supervision target, the Chinese central bank had moved cryptocurrencies under normalized supervision. However, it looked like the administration was still trying to maintain a grip on the segment responsible for scams. Apart from this, China is not expected to make any major policy announcements on cryptocurrencies for the rest of the year.

In recent times, China’s last policy announcement of banning mining operations had led to a mass miners’ exodus. After which, the Chinese administration declared victory this month, following satisfactory results in the financial report.

However, the top and lower Chinese courts passed judgments over the last month, reflecting continued intolerance of cryptocurrencies. Shandong Court had established that cryptocurrencies were “not protected by law.” In another case, six Chinese nationals were reportedly arrested for conducting transactions in virtual currencies, violating China’s exchange transfer limit. They face a jail term of 2-4 years.

All this comes as the nation is testing the launch of its digital yuan. While experts have discussed the benefits of China’s retail central bank digital currency (CBDC), there are also concerns around financial surveillance.

Other countries have also been tightening their regulatory hold over DeFi and cryptocurrencies, with the U.S. SEC now keeping stablecoins like Tether under its radar.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin hashrate recovered post China’s crackdown, which had impacted it severely. At press time, BTC hashrate stood at 135.09 EH/s. Along with that, the difficulty was up 18.42 T as Chinese miners settle in other parts of the world.

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Shraddha is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a keen interest in personal finance and wealth generation. Her primary focus is on the cryptocurrency space's applications for investment vehicles and portfolios