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China’s Crackdown Insufficient to Enforce Crypto-ban

China
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The debate on whether the central authorities can ever regulate the cryptocurrency industry intensates further with the launch of a Chinese crypto-startup. In a right-in-your-face stunt, InVault begins offering its cryptocurrency custody services last week in China despite the mainland ban. The Shanghai startup proposes to attract cryptocurrency exchanges as its primary clients, believing they should avoid the moral hazard of holding clients’ assets.

A custodian, in a traditional sense, holds clients’ securities or cash for safekeeping – in both electronics and physical form. China’s implicit ban on keeping and trading cryptocurrencies could arguably disallow an organization to hold assets that 1) are virtual currencies, and 2) belongs to companies with no legal status in the mainland.

But InVault seems to have found a way to circumvent the ongoing crackdown. The startup offers a decentralized corporate cryptocurrency wallet service, meaning that there would not be a central control over the safeguarded funds. InVault will instead be the custodian of users’ private keys. Local media reports hint that the startup will keep the users’ private keys secured in several Physical Vaults. Only authorized personnel will have access to these safes.

Kenneth Xu, chief executive and founder of InVault, said the only way by which cryptocurrencies can be secured is with the absence of human oversight.

“Today, the vast majority of cryptocurrency exchanges globally still involve their senior management in managing the transfer of digital tokens ordered by clients. Putting the private keys to your cryptocurrency assets in the hands of senior management is akin to putting all your money in their control,” said Xu, speaking to the South China Morning Post.