China: Hodling Bitcoin (BTC) and P2P OTC Trading is Legal

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Good news for the Chinese crypto community. Xiao Wei, a Council Member at the Law Research Association of the Bank of China, shared with the local media that, despite the ban, Chinese citizens can safely hold Bitcoins (BTC) without this being considered a crime or an illegal activity.

According to the expert, the Chinese legal system expressly prohibits ICOs, but has a different view regarding the possession of cryptocurrencies and the rights associated with them:

“In 2013, China gave a clear definition of the legal nature of Bitcoin itself: a specific virtual commodity, that is, its status as a “property”. The General Principles of Civil Law, implemented on October 1, 2017, reconfirmed that virtual property is protected by Chinese Law.

Xiao Wei analyzed that based on this, owning Bitcoin is legal in China.”

Likewise, being crypto a legal property, OTC trading is also not considered a crime. The expert explains that according to the laws, this would be an act of “disposition of power” in which one person transfers to another an asset along with the rights associated with it. “How to dispose of it is the private right of the owner, and others have no right to interfere,” he explained

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Xiao’s statements provide some clarity to the ecosystem. The Chinese government has a restrictive policy that seeks to reduce the activities associated with cryptocurrencies, especially because of the negative perception that exists around the ecosystem.

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According to BJNews, there are currently 461 court judgments related to “Bitcoin” and this trend increases over time. In the last 5 years, the evolution was from 9 pieces to 26, then to 54, then 120 and then 216.

However, there is still no need to be overexcited. The government maintains its ban and there is a very thin line between what is legal and what is illegal.

According to sources, Xiao Wei has maintained constant communication with other lawyers and there is a general agreement that according to the Country’s Criminal Law, non-p2p trading may fall under the Article 225, numeral 3 of the Criminal Law, “Other illegal business operations that seriously disrupt market order”.

However, although it may be considered legal, there is also no law that expressly says so. This has generated many conflicting opinions among legal experts.

One example is Wang Deyi who explains that from his point of view “Bitcoin transactions in China are in violation of national regulatory policies, and bitcoin-based over-the-counter transactions are difficult to obtain legal recognition.”

So far almost all arrests and prosecutions associated with cryptocurrencies in China have been the result of fraud against third parties.

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