Cryptocurrency mining operators, including a Huobi Mall and BTC.TOP, is suspending their China operations after Beijing stepped up its efforts to crack down on bitcoin mining and trading, sending the digital currency tumbling.
A State Council committee led by Vice Premier Liu He announced the crackdown late on Friday – the first time the council has targeted virtual currency mining, a big business in China that accounts for as much as 70% of the world’s crypto supply.
Crypto miners use increasingly powerful, specially-designed computer equipment, or rigs, to verify virtual coin transactions in a process that produces newly minted cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Bitcoin took a hammering after the latest Chinese move, and is now down nearly 50% from it’s all-time high. It shed as much as 17% on Sunday, before paring some losses and was last trading steady in Asia.
Investor protection and prevention of money laundering are particular concerns of governments and financial regulators who are grappling with whether and how they should regulate the cryptocurrency industry.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell turned up the heat on cryptocurrencies last week. On Thursday, Powell said they pose risks to financial stability and indicating that greater regulation of the increasingly popular electronic currency may be warranted.
Huobi Mall, part of cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, said in a statement late on Sunday that all of its custody businesses have been suspended.
“Meanwhile, we’re contacting overseas service providers, to pave way for exports of mining rigs in the future,” Huobi Mall said via its official Telegram community, and asked clients “not to worry and calm down.”News Source: Reuters