Global Editions

Can China Contain Bitcoin?

It is trying. But the cryptocurrency is bigger than any country, even the one where it has been most popular.
by Emily Parker

It was only a matter of time before Bobby Lee, CEO of China’s longest-running Bitcoin exchange, found himself in the crosshairs of Chinese regulators. His exchange, BTCC, had occupied a gray area of Chinese law, neither licensed nor explicitly illegal.

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that can be sent electronically around the world, and its growing popularity made Chinese authorities nervous. In 2016, most Bitcoin trades worldwide were in Chinese yuan.