More than 1,000 people have been arrested in China as the country intensifies crackdown on the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, adding to signs it’s further reining in crypto-linked activities, Bloomberg reported.
The Ministry of Public Security in a statement said that police busted a network of 1,100 people in more than 170 criminal groups in 23 provinces and cities as of Wednesday afternoon. The groups use cryptocurrencies to launder money in telecom scams to avoid being tracked down. The campaign spanned 23 provinces and cities, it added.
The criminal groups needed to hire people at 1.5% to 5% commission to help with the laundering process because the bank accounts they used for such scams had been seized.
Those hired would register their own bank accounts on virtual currency platforms, and use the money received from the criminal groups to trade virtual currencies before transferring those assets to the groups’ designated digital wallets., according to the report.
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China intensified its crypto crackdown this year after a frenzied surge in Bitcoin and other tokens at the beginning of 2021 heightened longstanding government concerns about the potential for fraud, money laundering and trading losses by individual investors.
China over the weekend closed a slew of crypto related accounts in Weibo, a Twitter like platform in China, as the country stepped up its crackdown on bitcoin trading.
Regulators have so far stopped short of labeling individual trading illegal.
In late May, Chinese authorities said it would crack down bitcoin mining and trading activities as part of efforts to fend off financial risks and protect the financial system.
Also in mid May, China banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions, and warned investors against speculative crypto trading.
As of Thursday afternoon, keyword searches for popular crypto exchanges like Binance, OKEx and Huobi on Internet services such as Baidu, Sogou, Zhihu and Weibo yielded no results as searches for crypto exchanges on China’s Internet are currently being censored.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.