A Quick Guide to Crypto Regulators and Companies in China

Can’t travel to Asia anymore due to Covid-19? Can’t have that meeting that you wanted anymore?

As our team receives ongoing questions and pings from our western readers on the things happening in Asia, we are re-surfacing some of the in-depth coverage interviews and write-ups of notable themes, organizations and figures in Asia that continue to be relevant in the cryptocurrency circle. We hope that once travel opens up again, you’ll be more prepared than ever to pursue and learn about the happenings in Asia.


China does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender and the banking system is not accepting cryptocurrencies or providing relevant services. Nevertheless, central bank digital currency is being explored and tested right now in multiple cities in China.

Other than that, the government has taken a series of regulatory measures to crack down on activities related to cryptocurrencies for purposes of investor protection and financial risk prevention. Those measures include announcing that initial coin offerings are illegal, restricting the primary business of cryptocurrency trading platforms, and discouraging Bitcoin mining.

Important Regulators to Know

Important Regulators to KnowQuick DescriptionIn chinese
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)state department responsible for the administration of China’s industrial branches and information industry???? ???
China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID)part of MIIT, publishes monthly rankings of Cryptocurrency?????????????
People’s Bank of China (PBOC)China’s central bank??????
China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)regulates banking and financial institutions in China under the State Council???
Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks RemediationChina’s top internet-finance regulator?????????????????
Cyberspace Administration of Chinacentral Internet regulator, censor, oversight, and control agency for the People’s Republic of China??????????

List of crypto-related companies and exchanges

CompaniesExchangeCrypto Projects

comment: there are many crypto companies and projects in China, but aforementioned ones are the most relevant ones and largest by scale

Timeline of Happenings

December 2013: The People’s Bank of China issues a warning notice on the risks of Bitcoin, and prohibits all crypto operations for financial institutions

December 2016: The Chinese government adds blockchain technology to its five-year technology plan

June 2017: The People’s Bank of China begins testing a prototype state-backed digital currency — the Bank sends several transactions between it and some of the country’s commercial banks.

September 2017: The Chinese government imposes regulation banning all Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto-to-fiat exchanges

January 2018: The Chinese government imposes regulation banning P2P sales and over-the-counter markets

February 2018: The Chinese government blocks access to foreign crypto exchanges and ICO websites

May 2018: President Xi Jinping makes a speech about the importance of pursuing technological research and mentions blockchain amongst revolutionary technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

May 2018: CCID Research Institute of the Ministry of Information and Technology announces that a committee is being set up to establish a national standard for blockchain, with an expected completion date at the end of 2019.

June 2018: China Central Television hosts a one hour special on blockchain technology with participants from the Chinese government; broadcaster touts blockchain as having an economic value “10 times that of the internet.”

November 2018: China’s central and largest bank by market capitalization has officially banned all security token offerings (STO) and any related investment and businesses involved in the practice.

December 2018: Hong Kong is tightening its regulatory grip on cryptocurrency exchanges and related businesses by bringing them under the purview of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), as reported by Asia Nikkei Review.

April 2019: The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planning agency in China the world’s largest market for bitcoin mining, released on Monday a list of sectors it plans to promote, restrict or eliminate, potentially deeming mining as a banned category. This was then reverted in November. 

October 2019: President Xi said China needs to “seize the opportunity” afforded by blockchain technology at part of the 18th collective study of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee in Beijing. 

October 2019: The Chinese central bank has introduced a new system to certify 11 different types of fintech hardware and software pertaining to digital payments.

November 2019: The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published a finalized new Catalog for Guiding Industry Restructuring that will take effect from Jan 1, 2020. In the final version, the agency has removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category

November 2019: Almost 200 cryptocurrency exchanges and token issuing platforms have been shut down. According to the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) financial report, the country will continue to crack down on “unlicensed payment” businesses, which include online lending institutions and other financial companies operating on the internet.

December 2019: The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) joined regulators the Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration Bureau, the Beijing Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau and the Beijing Securities Regulatory Bureau to warn companies in the country off pursuing cryptocurrency-related business.

April 2020: The National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a self-regulatory organization initiated by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), published a notice on Thursday regarding the risks associated with cryptocurrency. The association specifically warned of fake volumes at crypto exchanges. Meanwhile, the PBOC has reportedly completed the basic development of the nation’s central bank digital currency and is now drafting legislation for its circulation.

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