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China’s National Prosecutor Takes Action Against Blockchain Cybercrimes

China’s top prosecutorial authority is intensifying its crackdown on the rising tide of cybercrimes, focusing on perpetrators who exploit blockchain and metaverse ventures for unlawful purposes.

In a recent statement, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) voiced apprehension regarding the surge in online fraud, cyber violence, and infringement of personal information.

The SPP highlighted a notable uptick in cybercrimes occurring within blockchain networks and virtual reality spaces. Criminal elements are increasingly leveraging cryptocurrencies for money laundering, posing difficulties in tracking their unlawfully acquired assets.

Charges Related to Telecom Fraud Has Risen 64% YoY

Ge Xiaoyan, the deputy prosecutor-general of the SPP, disclosed that charges linked to cybercrime and telecommunications fraud have spiked by 64% compared to the previous year.

In addition to the rise in blockchain-related offenses, traditional crimes like gambling, theft, pyramid schemes, and counterfeiting have expanded their operations into the digital realm.

Xiaoyan underscored that charges related to internet theft have surged by nearly 23%, while those associated with online counterfeiting and the sale of substandard goods have skyrocketed by almost 86%.

Between January and November, procuratorates have brought charges against 280,000 individuals in cybercrime cases, marking a 36% year-on-year increase. These cases accounted for 19% of all criminal offenses, underscoring the escalating severity of the issue.

Zhang Xiaojin, director of the Fourth Procuratorate of the SPP, issued a cautionary advisory to citizens and participants within the digital asset realm, warning about the proliferation of investment scams within the local crypto economy.

Xiaojin specifically highlighted the emergence of new cybercrimes leveraging the metaverse, blockchain technology, and binary options platforms.

He stressed that digital currencies have become focal points for such illicit activities, underscoring the imperative for heightened vigilance among stakeholders.

In contrast to China’s stringent approach to cracking down on digital asset-related crimes, Hong Kong has adopted a more crypto-friendly regulatory stance. The special administrative region has implemented regulations aimed at standardizing its digital asset ecosystem and safeguarding investors, all while fostering innovation.

China’s Central Bank Addresses Crypto Regulation

In its most recent financial stability report, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) tackled concerns surrounding cryptocurrency regulation and decentralized finance (DeFi).

The Chinese central bank underscored the necessity for collaborative efforts among various nations to regulate the industry in a comprehensive manner.

In 2021, the PBoC unveiled measures aimed at curbing the proliferation of cryptocurrencies within mainland China, advocating for enhanced inter-departmental coordination to clamp down on crypto-related activities.

Despite the prohibition on nearly all cryptocurrency transactions and mining activities, mainland China has continued to function as a significant hub for crypto mining.

According to reports, China is poised to update its outdated Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) law to confront the growing risks associated with virtual assets.

The draft amendment, deliberated at a State Council meeting chaired by Chinese Premier Li Qiang, is slated for review by the national legislature.

Although the complete text of the proposed amendment remains undisclosed, legal experts suggest that its primary focus is to combat money laundering activities involving virtual assets.

The urgency to address virtual asset-related money laundering is underscored in a report by Chinese digital news outlet Jiemian, which references Yan Lixin, executive director at the China Centre for Anti-Money-Laundering Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

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I want to save money. Will cryptocurrency work?

Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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