A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was published, detailing the concepts of a payment system. Bitcoin was born. Bitcoin gained the attention of the world for its use of blockchain technology and as an alternative solution to fiat currencies and commodities. Dubbed the next best technology following the internet, blockchain offered answers to issues we have didn’t address, or ignored over the past few decades. I’ll not delve into the technical aspect of it but below are a few articles and videos that I recommend:

How Bitcoin Works Under the Hood

A gentle introduction to blockchain technology

Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work?

Fast forward to today, 5th February to be exact, authorities in China have just unveiled a new group of regulations to ban cryptocurrency. The Chinese government have previously done so last year, but many have circumvented through foreign exchanges. It has now enlisted the almighty ‘Great Firewall of China’ to block access to foreign exchanges in a bid to avoid its citizens from carrying out any cryptocurrency transactions.

To know more concerning the Chinese government stance, let’s backtrack a couple years back again to 2013 when Bitcoin was gaining popularity on the list of Chinese citizens and prices were soaring. Worried about the purchase price volatility and speculations, the People’s Bank of China and five other government ministries published the official notice on December 2013 titled “Notice on Preventing Financial Risk of Bitcoin” (Link is in Mandarin). Bitcoin Cash Token were highlighted:

1. Due to various factors such as limited supply, anonymity and lack of a centralized issuer, Bitcoin is not a official currency but a virtual commodity that can’t be found in the open market.

2. All banks and financial organizations are not permitted to offer Bitcoin-related financial services or take part in trading activity linked to Bitcoin.

3. All companies and websites offering Bitcoin-related services are to join up with the required government ministries.

4. As a result of anonymity and cross-border top features of Bitcoin, organizations providing Bitcoin-related services must implement preventive measures such as for example KYC to prevent money laundering. Any suspicious activity including fraud, gambling and money laundering should to be reported to the authorities.

5. Organizations providing Bitcoin-related services ought to educate the public about Bitcoin and the technology behind it rather than mislead the general public with misinformation.

In layman’s term, Bitcoin is categorized as a virtual commodity (e.g in-game credits,) that can be bought or sold in its original form rather than to be exchanged with fiat currency. It can’t be defined as money- something that serves as a medium of exchange, a unit of accounting, and a store of value.

Regardless of the notice being dated in 2013, it really is still relevant based on the Chinese government stance on Bitcoin and as mentioned, there is absolutely no indication of the banning Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Rather, regulation and education about Bitcoin and blockchain will are likely involved in the Chinese crypto-market.

An identical notice was issued on Jan 2017, again emphasizing that Bitcoin is really a virtual commodity rather than a currency. In September 2017, the boom of initial coin offerings (ICOs) led to the publishing of a separate notice titled “Notice on Preventing Financial Risk of Issued Tokens”. Soon after, ICOs were banned and Chinese exchanges were investigated and eventually closed. (Hindsight is 20/20, they have made the proper decision to ban ICOs and stop senseless gambling). Another blow was dealt to China’s cryptocurrency community in January 2018 when mining operations faced serious crackdowns, citing excessive electricity consumption.

While there is no official explanation on the crackdown of cryptocurrencies, capital controls, illegal activities and protection of its citizens from financial risk are some of the main reasons cited by experts. Indeed, Chinese regulators have implemented stricter controls such as overseas withdrawal cap and regulating foreign direct investment to limit capital outflow and ensure domestic investments. The anonymity and ease of cross-border transactions have also made cryptocurrency a favorite opportinity for money laundering and fraudulent activities.

Since 2011, China has played a crucial role in the meteoric rise and fall of Bitcoin. At its peak, China accounted for over 95% of the global Bitcoin trading volume and three quarters of the mining operations. With regulators stepping in to control trading and mining operations, China’s dominance has shrunk significantly in trade for stability.

With countries like Korea and India following suit in the crackdown, a shadow is now casted on the future of cryptocurrency. (I will reiterate my point here: countries are regulating cryptocurrency, not banning it). Without a doubt, we will have more nations join in in the coming months to rein in the tumultuous crypto-market. Indeed, some type of order was long overdue. Over the past year, cryptocurrencies are experiencing price volatility unusual and ICOs are happening literally every other day. In 2017, the full total market capitalization rose from 18 billion USD in January to an all-time most of 828 billion USD.

Nonetheless, the Chinese community come in surprisingly good spirits despite crackdowns. Online and offline communities are flourishing (Personally, i have attended a number of events and visited a few of the firms) and blockchain startups are sprouting around China.

Major blockchain firms such as for example NEO, QTUM and VeChain are receiving huge attention in the country. Startups like Nebulas, POWERFUL Blockchain (HPB) and Bibox may also be gaining a fair quantity of traction. Even giants such as for example Alibaba and Tencent may also be exploring the capabilities of blockchain to improve their platform. The list continues on and on nevertheless, you get me; it will likely be HUGGEE!

The Chinese government have also been embracing blockchain technology and have stepped up efforts recently to support the creation of a blockchain ecosystem.