After a two-year investigation, Chinese police say that they have broken up an extensive cross-border gambling ring and recovered $160 million in cryptocurrency.
The gambling operation, which authorities say utilized cryptocurrency, had a turnover of about RMB400 billion ($56 billion) and is believed to be the tip of the iceberg.
The People’s Republic of China has treated gambling as illegal since 1949, and the main suspect and accomplices will now face trial in the People’s Court of Shayang County, Hubei Province.
Police began their investigations when a Chinese citizen from Hubei Province, Xiong Xong, who a prominent crypto site notes had seen other participants amass a lot of money, alerted police to the fact that he was involved in mobile phone gambling. The type of crime made it difficult for the police to investigate, requiring the examination of massive amounts of data.
During their investigations, Chinese police discovered an extensive international crime organization that used cryptocurrency to conceal its behavior.
Chinese authorities made cryptocurrency trading illegal in September 2021, having initially banned it in 2019, however, many Chinese still use crypto currency.
Crypto trading is still not illegal within the gaming hub of Macau, despite authorities claiming it is not a financially regulated instrument. Macau, as the only legal casino-gambling location within China, had previously been home to various ICOs (initial coin offerings, similar to IPOs but involving cryptocurrencies) before China’s overall crackdown on the activity.