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Chinese police officers have arrested more than 1,100 people suspected of using cryptocurrencies to launder funds obtained through telephone and internet scams. The suspects’ illegal activities were discovered after a recent crackdown. Reportedly, these arrests came after police officers busted more than 170 criminal groups that use crypto to launder illicit funds.
According to a report, which cited China’s Ministry of Public Security, the launderers charged their criminal customers a 1.5% to 5% fee to convert their money into digital currencies through crypto exchanges. However, the ministry did not disclose the amount of money involved.
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Per China’s Payment and Clearing Association, the number of criminal activities involving the use of cryptocurrencies is rising steadily. The association went on to attribute this growth to the anonymity and global use of crypto, saying these features have made digital currencies an important channel for cross-border money laundering.
Apart from money laundering, the association pointed out that cryptocurrencies also support illegal gambling. Reportedly, approximately 13% of gambling sites have integrated crypto as a means of payment.
China continues clamping down on crypto
China continues tightening clampdowns on crypto. While China banned crypto trading in 2019, it is increasingly targeting other crypto-related spaces. For instance, the Northern region of Inner Mongolia shut down all crypto mines, citing failure to meet annual energy requirements. This move hurt BTC’s hashrate significantly, seeing as the region was previously 8% of the computing power needed by BTC’s network.
Yesterday, the North-western province of Qinghai took similar measures by ordering all crypto mines to shut down. Qinghai Industry and Information Technology Department issued a document, saying that it would probe and punish organizations that operate in the name of big data but engage in virtual currency mining. On top of this, the department said it would constantly check to see if any entity violates the rules stipulated in the document.
While China’s overall sentiment on crypto is negative, the country is enforcing these bans as part of a wider goal, which involves attaining carbon neutrality in four decades. While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping, said China is looking to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.
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