Bitcoin steadies in Asia after a plunge caused by the Chinese ban

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Bitcoin rebounded in Asian trading a day after China’s central bank issued a statement reaffirming the country’s ongoing crackdown against cryptocurrencies sent the world’s largest token to a two-week low.

Reports claim that the sell-off was sparked when China’s central bank, commonly known as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), urged some banks and payment firms to thoroughly check client accounts, identify those involved in cryptocurrency transactions and promptly cut their payments.

Bitcoin was up 3.17 percent at $32,600 after falling more than 10 percent in the last day. Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, was up 3.54 percent at $1,950 after hitting a five-week low the day before.

The latest tightening has made it far more difficult for individuals in China to trade in cryptocurrencies, even through channels that have avoided previous restrictions.

Since China’s State Council, or cabinet, announced this month that it would tighten restrictions on bitcoin trade and mining, Beijing has escalated its campaign.

A Chinese ban on cryptocurrencies isn’t something new. The one that came out yesterday was almost a copy of a previous announcement earlier this year,” said Mr. Justin d’Anethan, head of exchange sales at crypto exchange operator EQONEX.

Earlier this year, three financial industry associations advised their members, which included banks and online payment companies, not to provide any crypto-related services such as account openings, registration, trading, clearing, settlement, or insurance, reiterating a 2017 rule that stated: “virtual currencies are not backed by any real value.”

Bans on crypto mining have been issued in major bitcoin mining hubs, including Sichuan, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies have been identified as a potential threat to the Yuan, China’s fiat currency, which has spurred the PBOC to launch its own digital currency.

Related: China blocks crypto-related Weibo accounts to revise its role in bitcoin mining