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Bitcoin battered by China crackdown, Musk’s tweets and hackers’ warning
Police targeted more than 170 criminal groups involved in laundering illegal proceeds from telephone and internet scams.

Beijing’s regulators blocked a whole host of Weibo crypto accounts just a day after Elon Musk’s latest digicurrency tweet saw him warned by the Anonymous hacking collective

 

Bitcoin’s price took another hit after China moved to restrict bitcoin trading and mining over the weekend just a day after one-time crypto evangelist Elon Musk had continued his more recent negative campaign against the digicoin.

The coin dropped as much as 6.3% and was trading at about $36,750 on Monday in New York after the Tesla CEO tweeted “#Bitcoin” with a broken heart emoji.

Bitcoin is now about $28,000 short of its mid-April record of almost $65,000 and Musk’s latest show of scepticism, along with news of Beijing moving to crack down on the crypto industry, dented what had been a stable week for the currency after a terrible May.

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China’s regulators have blocked a whole raft of crypto-related accounts on China’s version of Twitter.

Access to a significant number of widely followed crypto-related Weibo accounts was denied, with a message now showing saying each account “violates laws and rules”.

Last month, China’s State Council, or cabinet, vowed to act on bitcoin mining and trading, stepping up its campaign against cryptocurrencies days after three industry bodies banned crypto-related financial and payment services.

“It’s a Judgment Day for crypto”, wrote a Weibo bitcoin commentator.

Winston Ma, author of the book The Digital War, also expects China’s supreme court to publish a judicial interpretation soon that may link crypto mining and trading businesses with China’s body of criminal law.

LEGAL AMBIGUITY

The view was echoed by a financial regulator, who said that such an interpretation would address the legal ambiguity that has failed to clearly identify bitcoin trading businesses as “illegal operations”. All the rules against cryptocurrencies so far in China have been published by administrative bodies.

The freeze on the Chinese microblogging website comes as the country’s media have stepped up reporting against crypto trading exposing a series of crypto-related ‘scams’.

State broadcaster CCTV has said cryptocurrency is a lightly regulated asset often used in black market trade, money laundering, arms smuggling, gambling and drug dealings.

DIGITAL YUAN

The stepped-up crackdown also comes as China’s central bank is accelerating testing of its own digital currency.

And Musk was also in focus again on Monday after the Anonymous hacking collective accused him of ‘destroying lives’ with his cryptocurrency tweets.

Musk’s broken-heart bitcoin tweet saw the value of bitcoin drop by nearly 7% on Friday and the Anonymous group say he has shown “a clear disregard for the average working person”.

In a video viewed more than one million times since it was posted on Saturday, the individual cited a number of Musk’s past comments and allegations against him.

 

  • With reporting by Reuters

 

Read more:

China keen to rein back the yuan but not at all costs

Bitcoin plunges on China mining fears and concern about regulation

Sean OMeara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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