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China in fresh cryptocurrency crackdown as Bitcoin bubble continues to burst

China is strengthening its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, shifting its focus towards prohibiting domestic access to homegrown and offshore applications that offer exchange-like services, it has been revealed.

While authorities banned cryptocurrency exchanges in the region last year, they’ve recently noticed an uptick in activity on unregulated applications that offer centralised trading – and that’s what they’re now targeting, according to Bloomberg.

Officials are also setting their sights on prosecuting individuals and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for prohibited centralised trading initiatives, people “familiar with the matter” told the news outlet.

Small peer-to-peer transactions are not of interest, they added.

The news sent further shockwaves through the cryptocurrency industry when it broke at the beginning of the week, likely contributing to Bitcoin’s dramatic drop in value – hitting a new low of £7,554 ($10,361) on Wednesday, January 17.

Related: Bitcoin price latest

Rumours of South Korean officials planning to forbid the trade of virtual currencies are believed to be the main reason for the fall, however – some experts claim they’re working on a blanket ban; others say they’re simply looking to regulate exchanges.

“The position is that the Korean authorities are clamping down on unregulated exchanges and exchanges that are not compliant,” explained Ran Neuner, host of CNBC‘s Cryptotrader show, on Twitter last week.

“A ban is not on the cards,” Neuner added.

Do you think China’s right in banning access to unregulated exchanges? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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