Owning, Occasionally Trading Bitcoin Is Legal in China, Prominent Lawyer Argues

Sa Xiao, a Council Member at the Bank of China Law Research Association, has recently argued that both owning and “occasionally” trading bitcoin in China is legal, as the country’s regulations currently don’t outright ban cryptocurrencies.

Speaking to local news outlet Beijing News, Xiao argued China’s regulations of virtual property include the right to trade as the owner sees fit. The lawyer’s views are in sharp contrast to those revealed by Chinese authorities, who have banned cryptocurrency trading, initial coin offerings, and more.

He noted that while owning cryptocurrencies has never been illegal in the eyes of Chinese authorities, it may be possible to be punished for dealing with cryptocurrencies. Specifically, he noted that running a BTC trading business that leads to client losses may lead to a punishment according to criminal law.

Notably, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration has late last year ruled cryptocurrencies like bitcoin should be protected by law as property, in a case that saw two parties dispute cryptocurrency possession at the end of a contract.

Similarly, the Shanghai Hongkou District Court in China recognized cryptos, including ether, should be protected by law, in a case where a defendant refused to return 20 ETH to an ICO investor.

Xiao didn’t specificy what could be seen as “occasional exchange” or more between individuals, nor did he point towards any figures in specific.

Earlier this year, it was reported the Chinese government was looking to ban all cryptocurrency mining in the country, in a move that would severely affect mining firms taking advantage of cheap energy in some of China’s regions.

Local investors’ interest in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin has seemingly been growing, so much so some believe bitcoin’s recent surge to test the $8,000 mark was aided by Chinese buyers. This, as the crypto’s rise coincided with US President Donald Trump announcing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods.

Recently Garrick Hileman, a Macroeconomics Researcher at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the head of research at Blockchain.com, noted that the value of the Chinese yuan appears to be inversely correlated to that of bitcoin.

U.S. Government Intervenes in CFTC Case Against Alleged Crypto Fraudster

Michael LaVere
  • The US government has filed to intervene in a lawsuit by the CFTC against Jon Barry Thompson. 
  • Thompson has been charged with commodities fraud and wire fraud, dating back to an alleged 2018 crypto scam involving $7 million.

The U.S. government intends to intervene in a lawsuit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against alleged crypto fraudster Jon Barry Thompson. 

According to a report by Finance Magnates, the intervention was made public on Nov. 19, following the government’s filing of a set of documents with the New York Southern District court. Thompson, who has been accused of operating a bitcoin scam and charged with commodities and wire fraud, is in the midst of a lawsuit by the CFTC.

According to the filing, the government’s intervention into the CFTC lawsuit is to prevent interference with a parallel case involving Thompson, United States v. Jon Barry Thompson, 19 Cr. 698. 

The filing states, 

If this case were to proceed, there would be a risk of significant interference with the Criminal Case.

It continues, 

A complete stay would prejudice no party to this civil action; would prevent the circumvention of important statutory limitations on criminal discovery and avoid asymmetrical discovery, and would preserve the Court’s resources because many of the issues presented by the civil action will be resolved in the Criminal Case.

In 2018, Thompson allegedly induced two victims to send “roughly $7 million” to fund the false purchase of bitcoin through his companies Volantis Escrow Platform LLC and Volantis Market Making LLC. 

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