The court’s verdict makes use of virtual assets criminal and stipulates heavy prison sentences and penalties.
The Supreme People’s Court, the apex court in China, on Thursday ruled that transacting virtual assets is “illegal fundraising.”
The Supreme Court ruling comes with amendments to previous designations of various articles regarding the topic of crypto transactions.
In one of the amendments, item 8 of Article 2 encompasses “illegal fundraising by way of online lending, investment in shares, [and] virtual currency transactions,” the court ruled.
The court’s decision gives authorities the power to prosecute suspects and apply necessary penalties.
According to the court, those suspected to have engaged in illegal fundraising face prosecution as stipulated under Article 176 of the country’s criminal law. Persons guilty of illegally handling large amounts of money face three to ten years in prison and a fine of between RMB 50,000 and RMB 500,000 (($7,900-$79,000).
Suspects arrested on charges involving smaller amounts face jail terms of up to three years. Additional fines of between 20,000 and 200,000 RMB (roughly ($3,160 to $31,600).
According to details in the ruling, the new amendments take effect on 1st March this year.
China banned crypto trading and mining in 2021, doing so in a crackdown that reinforced what the country’s regulators had already put in place in previous years.