Bitcoin hailed as ‘success’ by China in dramatic shift in attitude – The Independent

0
67
Bitcoin hailed as ‘success’ by China in dramatic shift in attitude – The Independent

A state-run newspaper in China has published a front-page story hailing bitcoin as the first successful application of blockchain technology.

The praise marks a significant shift in Beijing’s stance towards the cryptocurrency and comes as the country prepares to launch its own digital currency.

Monday’s edition of Xinhua went into detail about how bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology works, describing it as “one of the hottest topics in recent years”.

Download the new Indpendent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

China has been slow to acknowledge the potential benefits of cryptocurrency compared to other countries and has typically taken a hardline attitude towards the industry.

In September 2017, as bitcoin was heading towards its record high price, Beijing introduced a ban on all cryptocurrency exchanges to prevent citizens from purchasing digital currencies with Chinese yuan.

leftCreated with Sketch.
rightCreated with Sketch.

1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’

Reuters

2/8 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins – the equivalent of $90 million at today’s prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

3/8 Silk Road opens for business

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

4/8 The first bitcoin ATM appears

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

5/8 The fall of MtGox

The world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

6/8 Would the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

7/8 Bitcoin’s big split

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

8/8 Bitcoin’s price sky rockets

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’

Reuters

2/8 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins – the equivalent of $90 million at today’s prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

3/8 Silk Road opens for business

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

4/8 The first bitcoin ATM appears

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

5/8 The fall of MtGox

The world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

6/8 Would the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

7/8 Bitcoin’s big split

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

8/8 Bitcoin’s price sky rockets

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

The Xinhua article was not wholly positive about bitcoin, claiming that the semi-anonymous nature of the cryptocurrency meant it was used for illicit activities like money laundering.

“People can freely transfer money through bitcoin without having to verify various identity information… However, this feature also makes bitcoin widely used in illegal transactions,” the article states.

“Currently, the most important use of bitcoin payments are black market transactions and ‘dark web’ transactions.”

China’s change in policy towards cryptocurrency and blockchain began earlier this year, prompting rumours that the country was close to unveiling plans for its own state-backed token.

In October, after years of an effective blackout on the subject, adverts for blockchain course began to appear on popular Chinese apps and across social media sites. Days later, president Xi Jinping described the technology as an “important breakthrough” that should be developed.

A law is also set to be introduced in January that will “facilitate the development of the cryptography business and ensure the security of cyberspace and information”.

This is expected to precede the launch of China’s cryptocurrency, which is being developed by China’s central bank. Previous positive sentiment from China has been credited for boosting bitcoin’s price, however the latest market movements suggest bitcoin’s value has been unaffected.

China may not not be the only geopolitical power to launch a cryptocurrency next year, after it was revealed last week that the European Union is considering a proposal for its own digital currency.

Draft documents from the European Central bank urged the EU to “explore the opportunities” afforded by the new technology.

Social media is an increasingly important battle ground in elections – and home to many questionable claims pumped out by all sides. If social media sites won’t investigate the truth of divisive advertising, we will. Please send any political Facebook advertising you receive to [email protected], and we will catalogue and investigate it. Read more here.

Be inspired with the latest lifestyle trends

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here