China has decided that Bitcoin’s got to go, ordering exchanges of the digital currency to pack it in.
Operations in Beijing and Shanghai have until 20 September to wind everything down (which is tomorrow. The Chinese government does not mess about).
But why is it doing this? Apparently, driving digital currencies out will reduce China’s financial risks. I don’t see how, exactly, but then I don’t understand Bitcoin either, really.
The country’s central bank has said that the likes of Bitcoin are ‘increasingly used as a tool in criminal activities such as money laundering, drug trafficking, smuggling, and illegal fundraising,’ apparently unaware that normal money gets used for those things too.
Speaking to the BBC, Paul Armstrong, an emerging technology adviser, said: ‘China is shutting exchanges down for good reasons. I think it’s right they’re being cautious at this time.’
Giving the simulated coinage a little more of a kicking, Mr Armstrong added: ‘Bitcoin is by proxy unregulated and peer-to-peer, it’s a very volatile currency.’