Charles Krupa / AP
BEIJING – China’s central bank declared on Friday that all transactions involving Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are illegal and intensified a campaign to block the use of unofficial digital money.
Chinese banks were banned from handling cryptocurrencies in 2013, but the government issued a reminder this year. The reflected official concern cryptocurrency mining and trading may still be ongoing, or the state financial system may be indirectly exposed to risks.
Friday’s announcement lamented Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies that are disrupting the financial system and being used in money laundering and other crimes.
“Virtual currency transactions are all illegal financial activities and are strictly prohibited,” the People’s Bank of China said on its website.
Promoters of cryptocurrencies say they allow anonymity and flexibility, but Chinese regulators are concerned that they could weaken the ruling Communist Party’s control over the financial system and say they can help hide criminal activity.
The People’s Bank of China is developing an electronic version of the country’s yuan for cashless transactions that can be tracked and controlled by Beijing.
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