“Sporadic” P2P Bitcoin trading is likely legal in China, a senior lawyer told the national press in unusually optimistic comments this week.
Keep Bitcoin Exchange ‘Occasional’ in China
Speaking to BJ News, Sa Xiao, Council Member at the Bank of China Law Research Association, argued that China’s current regulation of virtual property includes the right to trade it as the owner sees fit.
The perspective runs in sharp contrast to the current mood among authorities in China, who have enacted an official ban on cryptocurrency trading, ICOs and more.
Ownership of crypto, including Bitcoin, has never been illegal as defined by law, meanwhile, something Xiao confirmed.
“Xiao considers occasional exchange of bitcoins between individuals and (other) individuals is legal,” Twitter-based Chinese crypto news resource cnLedger summarized, paraphrasing BJ News.
…Xiao also believes if one runs BTC trading as a business and has caused significant customer losses (with) serious consequences, the possibility of punishment according to criminal law… cannot be ruled out.
For the week ending May 18, Chinese traders transacted just over 32 million yuan ($4.6 million) via P2P trading platform Localbitcoins.
Bitcoin Legal Or Illegal?
While seemingly positive for the average Chinese Bitcoin holder, the mixed messages coming from various niches in the country’s legal framework still constitute more of a headache than relief.
As Bitcoinist reported, the trading ban in 2017 was followed by more sporadic pressure from officials, such as August 2018’s crypto-related commercial activity restrictions.
In April this year, meanwhile, plans emerged to fully outlaw mining in China, a sector which had already reduced in size due to the Q4 2018 Bitcoin price drop.
As markets picked up again in Q2 2019, however, multiple sources noted renewed interest in China, with traders turning to over-the-counter (OTC) methods for acquiring bitcoins. They even paid a premium in fiat terms, Bitcoinist noted, underscoring the supply-vs-demand imbalance resulting from the official block.
Xiao did not mention what constituted “occasional exchange” between individuals, or how much value such trades could safely involve.
“Xiao’s views were based on current legal framework which protects (people’s) rights of virtual properties (Bitcoin included),” cnLedger added.
Occasional P2P tradings of bitcoin is in nature ‘disposition right’, one of the rights of ‘ownership’. Therefore owning & occasional P2P trading is legal.
Crypto policy aside, China could have in fact sparked a continuation of the industry’s bull market inadvertently, thanks to the ongoing trade war with the US which again escalated this month.
The announcement of fresh tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods by president Donald Trump coincided with BTC/USD expanding to yearly highs of over $8300.
What do you think about Sa Xiao’s interpretation of Bitcoin law in China? Let us know in the comments below!
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Post written by our friend Esther Kim
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