“Virtual currency derivative transactions are all illegal financial activities and are strictly prohibited,” the People’s Bank of China said on its website.The price of Bitcoin fell more than 9%, to $41,085, in the hours after the announcement, as did most other crypto tokens. Ethereum skidded almost 10%, falling from $3,100 to around $2,800.
Chinese banks were banned from handling cryptocurrencies in 2013, but the government issued a reminder this year. That reflected official concern cryptocurrency mining and trading might still be going on or the state-run financial system might be indirectly exposed to risks. Promoters of cryptocurrencies say they allow anonymity and flexibility, but Chinese regulators worry they might weaken the ruling Communist Party’s control over the financial system and say they might help to conceal criminal activity.
The People’s Bank of China is developing an electronic version of the country’s yuan for cashless transactions that can be tracked and controlled by Beijing.