China arrests 1,100 people for laundering cryptocurrency
China has arrested more than a thousand people for using the proceeds of crime to buy cryptocurrencies, security officials have said, amid a growing crackdown on the industry.
The country’s bitcoin mines fuel nearly 80% of the global cryptocurrency trade, although trade in China is banned.
Authorities have started turning to cryptocurrency miners to prevent speculation and stamp out money laundering.
Chinese police have dismantled a network of 1,100 people involved in money laundering by purchasing cryptocurrencies, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement on Wednesday.
Launderers charged customers a commission for converting illegal proceeds into virtual currencies through crypto exchanges, the ministry said, without specifying the amount of money involved.
China banned cryptocurrency trading in 2019 and is increasingly tightening restrictions on bitcoin mining.
In April, the northern region of Inner Mongolia shut down all of its cryptocurrency mines, saying they had failed to meet annual energy consumption targets.
The region accounted for eight percent of the computing power needed to run the global blockchain – a set of online ledgers to record bitcoin transactions.
That’s more than the dedicated blockchain computing power across the United States.
Northwestern Qinghai Province announced a similar ban on cryptocurrency mining on Wednesday, but no data is available on the size of operations in the region.
Bitcoin values fell in May following a warning from Beijing to investors against speculative cryptocurrency trading.
China is in the midst of a sweeping regulatory crackdown on its FinTech industry, the biggest players in which have been fined heavily after being found guilty of monopoly practices.
© 2021 AFP