China’s central bank said Thursday that Bitcoin transactions originating from the country have plummeted to 10% from 90% of the total worldwide.
The decline is in part due to Beijing’s intensifying crackdown on cryptocurrency trading and mining over the last decade. The country banned trading in Bitcoin as early as 2013, and outlawed centralized crypto exchanges in 2017.
The nation’s supreme court threatened those involved in fundraising through crypto sales with up to 10-year jail sentences last month.
China used to be the world’s cryptocurrency hub. Major crypto exchanges such as Huobi were founded in China, while the Bitcoin miners in the country mined the vast majority of new coins.
The crackdown is also part of China’s efforts to restore order in its domestic financial market, according to the statement from the People’s Bank of China. Virtual currency trading is among a variety of illegal financial activities listed by the central bank, including online peer-to-peer lending and fundraising from the public without licenses.
The announcement also comes on the heels of international financial regulators’ discussion on how to prevent Russia from circumventing sanctions using cryptocurrency. The U.S. is prodding exchanges to thwart crypto use by sanctioned Russians.
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