The authoritarian communist government of China has taken the unprecedented step of banning crypto exchanges, with BTCC, one of China’s biggest bitcoin exchange, the first to close down trading.
Reports suggest local authorities have been asked to shut down exchanges. They will all, most probably, be closed. Starting with Shanghai, which appears to be the fastest local authority to act.
That’s where BTCC is based. The only notable exchange based in Shanghai as far as we are aware.
Beijing might be next, where some bitcoin exchanges have their headquarters. We may, therefore, in the coming hours or days, hear of similar announcements.
The communist government is expected to state bitcoin itself is not banned, with off the counter (OTC) direct peer to peer trading allowed to continue. That may create loopholes, but it is the end of an era for the country.
The decision comes exactly 10 years since the first bank run in a decade. On precisely September the 14th 2007, Britain and the world woke up to what they thought was impossible and something that only happens in Mary Poppins.
Extremely long queues formed outside of Northern Rock as depositors rushed to withdraw their holdings. It was the beginning of a banking collapse and the birth of Bitcoin.
Whether the authoritarian government intentionally chose this exact symbolic day to declare their exit is unclear, but the country, as we’ve known it until now, will be missed.
We’ve seen that ancient land rise so high and marveled at the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Many of them we’ve met in our news reporting. Forming bonds across cultures, languages and continents.
It allowed us to dream that the people may be united despite the games our elites may wish to play. That whether in China, America, Germany, Britain or Russia, the people are the same and share the same interest.
Yet China has decided to bring down an iron wall and isolate itself from this space, and indirectly, from the rest of the world. They have fallen back to their protectionist tendencies. A dangerous move in these fiery geopolitical times.
The country is losing friends. Friends that may have stood up for it in tougher times. But we’ll always differentiate between its government and the people or private enterprise.
We’ll always stand with those that fight for equity and justice, wherever in the world and for whatever cause. We’ll always stand with those who dream of a better future and against those who try to awaken the ghosts of the past.
However, this space will soon move on. What is today’s news will become tomorrow’s history. China may, in the process, be forgotten, and whatever memory it might leave, might not be quite the best.
They will likely fail in their aims of hampering bitcoin, but their failure will be costly. Rightly or wrongly, the best talent in this space might shun that ancient land. Pressure might rise on global companies to withdraw their business too.
Because we are so strongly reminded the country is ruled by an authoritarian government when we thought they had changed. Unfortunately, we were mistaken.
And if previous generations were keen to aid authoritarians, this generation won’t stand for it as economic freedom is a right in all countries, across the globe. A lesson that is now well learned from the atrocities of the past century.
Our grandfathers are still alive and their stories we have heard. How they starved. How their children walked without shoes.
We won’t stand with any nation that upholds that rotten ideology or tries to bring the ghosts of the past and limits the people’s economic freedom in the name of communism and its central planning.
That China has chosen to do so makes it a sad day. But we hope their younger generation will see that economic freedom and the free market, even in the matter of money, is far superior to any central planning.
When they do, we’ll welcome them. Until then, this new China, won’t be missed, one bit.