China tightens law to jail those found raising funds though crypto sales

Quick Take

  • Chinese courts can now issue jail sentences if people raise funds via crypto from the public.
  • The move adds legal teeth to China’s crypto crackdown. 

China announced powers to jail those found guilty of raising funds via token sales as it expands its crackdown on crypto.

China’s highest court amended its interpretation of the country’s Criminal Law to make raising money from the public through "virtual currency” illegal, according to a statement today. The amendment comes into force from March 1.

While China has banned crypto-based fundraising since 2017, this new amendment means Chinese courts can now officially issue sentences to criminals. Jail terms will vary from below three years to over ten years, depending on the amount raised.

If the amount of crypto fundraising fraud is more than 100,000 yuan ($16,000), it will be deemed a “large amount.” If that amount is more than 500,000 yuan ($79,000), it will be identified as “enormous,” as stipulated in Article 192 of the Criminal Law.

China has been taking aggressive steps to root out crypto from the nation. Last September, China's central bank banned all cryptocurrency transactions, declaring them illegal. Crypto-related business activities were also declared illegal, including trading and mining.

China's crypto crackdown has benefited the US, allowing it to leapfrog China as the largest market for bitcoin mining. The US now accounts for more than 35% of the Bitcoin hash rate or computing power, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.

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