Chinese traders are using virtual private networks (VPNs) as a major tool to circumvent the ongoing government crackdown on cryptocurrency trading, local media outlet South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported September 8.
According to SCMP, referencing reports from Beijing-affiliated Shanghai Securities Times, traders have begun leveraging stablecoin Tether (USDT) as a means of entering and exiting cryptocurrency markets.
Combined with a VPN, two traders can use an exchange platform notionally registered outside China as an intermediary to swap cryptocurrency for fiat currency and vice versa.
“[T]wo individuals who have both completed a ‘know-your-customer’ procedure with an exchange would swap ‘fiat’ currencies […] to tether,” the publication reports:
“The exchange plays the role of an overseer of such trades, and stands ready to adjudicate in cases of failed trades, or transactions that are not honoured.”
A Beijing district stepped up the general ban on cryptocurrency exchanges last month, seeking on a local level to ban over 120 websites of platforms attempting to serve would-be domestic consumers.
This, Hong Kong and Taiwan exchange TideBit CEO Terence Tsang told SCMP, is “targeted at a batch of smaller exchanges that had claimed to be foreign entities, but are in fact operating in China claiming they have outsourced their operations to a Chinese company.”
At the same time, the Post notes, there is currently no successful scheme in operation to block VPNs, allowing smarter traders to maintain access to forbidden online resources.
Chinese traders have pursued various means of crypto trading since authorities first began cracking down on the practice in September 2017.
These have taken the form of using Hong Kong as a home from home for platforms themselves, while traders have resorted to peer-to-peer options, something the Chinese government has now also sought to shut down.