Briefing

State-run media’s Bitcoin coverage marks change for China

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Xinhua News Agency called the cryptocurrency “the first successful application of blockchain technology” in an article published Monday. Though it warned the coin is volatile and that its pseudonymity is used to conduct illegal activity, it also described in detail how the cryptocurrency works. That marks a change from the agency’s past emphasis on covering government warnings about it. (Cointelegraph)

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Talking point: The Chinese government has reversed its position on cryptocurrencies and blockchain in recent months. Beijing initially cracked down: it banned exchanges and initial coin offerings in 2017 and, the following year, blocked messaging-platform accounts that promoted trading. But in October, President Xi Jinping told Xinhua that China should focus on developing blockchain technology. Monday’s coverage serves as a cryptocurrency explainer for the outlet’s huge audience, priming them for the People’s Bank of China’s own token, which is under development. In August, the central bank said it was “almost ready,” but governor Yi Gang later said it does not “have a timetable” for a launch.