China Bitcoin Ban: Lawyer Says Occasional BTC P2P Exchange Is Legal
A member of the Bank of China Law Research Association says sporadic bitcoin (BTC) trading isn’t illegal in the country despite the trading ban enacted in 2017. This new revelation by cnLedger, a cryptocurrency news source that focuses on China, begs the question of what Chinese law enforcement and regulators would deem “occasional BTC trading.”
Occasional Bitcoin Trading Allowed in China
In a series of tweets posted by cnLedger on May 21, 2019, the Chinese news source said that there were no laws against the occasional bitcoin exchange between individuals. The tweets cited statements made by Sa Xiao to local news media outlet BJ News.
Xiao, a Council Member of the Bank of China Law Research Association, said that the country’s bitcoin ban didn’t outlaw the exchange of virtual currency between individuals. According to Xiao, cryptocurrencies being digital property means that owners have the right to trade amongst themselves.
However, cnLedger also reported that BTC trading businesses that resulted in “serious losses” to customers would attract punishment according to the existing provisions in China’s criminal law code. BJ News highlighted one such case where an alleged scammer defrauded more than 100 traders, disappearing after the crime.
The available reports failed to provide any clear guideline of what could be constituted as an occasional exchange of bitcoin between individuals.
Legal Status of Bitcoin in China
Since banning initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading in September 2017, Beijing has taken more steps to censor cryptocurrencies within the country. Regulators in the country have even gone further to outlaw other activities like security token offerings (STOs) and initial exchange offerings (IEOs).
Earlier in the year, reports emerged that the country was looking to ban Bitcoin mining. At the time, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) identified cryptocurrency mining as one of the activities that should be outlawed in the country. Bitcoin miners in China, however, received some assurances that such a move wouldn’t occur in the immediate future.
While being anti-crypto, China has, on several occasions, shown a positive disposition towards blockchain technology. Critics allege that Beijing’s fondness for blockchain comes from efforts at increasing its censorship and monitoring of the Chinese society.