As the Wall Street Journal reported, on June 21, 2021: “The People’s Bank of China …said it summoned representatives of multiple institutions—including state-owned commercial banks and Ant Group Co.’s Alipay—and told them to “strictly implement” recent notices and guidelines from authorities on curbing risks tied to bitcoin and cryptocurrency fundraising activities. It was the latest sign that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on unregulated virtual currencies.”

The PBOC Statement talked about how cryptocurrencies are used in money laundering, illegal cross-border asset transfers and other illegal activities.  The Statement further provided that the organizations that participated in the meeting  (Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank, Industrial Bank and Alipay (China) Network Technology Co., Ltd.) agreed that they would not carry out or participate in virtual currency-related business activities, further increase their investigation and disposal efforts, and adopt strict measures to resolutely cut off virtual currency transaction activities.

This is consistent with prior steps taken in China.  Although individuals are not barred from owning cryptocurrencies, ICOs were banned years ago and crypto exchanges are also banned.

The other significant step recently taken in China is its crackdown on Bitcoin mining, amid concerns over its massive energy consumption.  Bloomberg reported the shutdown of mines in Sichuan, which was one of the world’s largest hydro-powered mining areas.  It is estimated that more than 60% of global Bitcoin mining is done in China.

At the time of the publication of this post, Bitcoin was trading at about $31,665, a 25 percent decline from just one week ago.


David Zaslowsky has a degree in computer science and, before going to Yale Law School, was a computer programmer. His practice focuses on international litigation and arbitration. He has been involved in cases in trial and appellate courts across the United States and before arbitral institutions around the world. Many of David’s cases, including some patent cases, have related to technology. David has been included in Chambers for his expertise in international arbitration. He is the editor of the firm's blockchain blog.