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China’s authorities to crack down on rising blockchain, metaverse crime


China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate promised punishment for criminals utilizing blockchain technology and metaverse projects for nefarious operations. 

Li Xuehui, a Supreme People’s Procuratorate spokesperson, noted an increase in cybercrime perpetuated on blockchains and in the metaverse during a Feb. 23 press conference. Xuehui said cryptocurrency money laundering quickly became a mainstream channel for illicit wealth and criminals.

Director of the Fourth Procuratorate of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Zhang Xiaojin, cautioned against “high yield, low risk” investment scams populating the local crypto economy, urging citizens and digital asset participants to adapt to evolving criminal strategies, like pig butchering. 

Pig butchering involves establishing a connection with a victim, getting them to invest in a malicious digital asset project or exchange, and then disappearing with their capital. U.S. authorities seized over $9 million last year in Tether’s USDT stablecoin connected to this scam.

Chinese authorities over-prosecuted more than 42,000 individuals involved in electronic fraud and crypto-related scams throughout 2023. 

In the next step, the procuratorial organs will conscientiously implement the requirements of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, plan and promote the Internet legal work of procuratorial organs from a higher starting point, and provide strong judicial guarantee for promoting the formation of a good Internet ecology.

Supreme People’s Procuratorate spokesperson

China’s renewed crackdown on bad actors using blockchain technology coincides with increased illicit activity in Hong Kong. Crypto crime in the special administrative region tripled since 2021 as crypto.news reported

The announcement comes as Hong Kong implements crypto-friendly regulations to standardize its local digital asset ecosystem and protect investors without kneecapping innovation. 

Hong Kong has introduced a licensing regime for compliant businesses and even hinted at allowing spot Bitcoin ETFs to trade on local exchanges after the U.S. SEC approved 11 issuers. Meanwhile, crypto trading and mining have been banned in China since 2021, although the country has made strides in CBDCs and web3 regulatory policies. 

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