Feeds

China bans virtual cash for real-world trade

Peer-to-peer transactions only

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Officials in China are banning use of virtual money to buy real-world goods and services.

Under new regulations released jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Culture, virtual currency can now only be used for virtual goods and services that are provided by the issuer of the virtual currency.

Several sites are reporting the news as targeting China's online gold-farming market, but there is no indication that selling virtual currency is being forbidden.

The new regulations do define prepaid cards for video games - but according to the Ministry of Commerce, the rules are to limit the impact of virtual money on the country's real financial system.

Those caught using virtual money for gambling will also be punished by public security authorities, the Ministry said. The Ministry of Culture added it will step up supervision of of money laundering using virtual money and "other illegal online activities."

Virtual money has been fingered as a source of under-the-table payments, laundering, theft and fraud by China's government. In particular are "QQ coins" issued by Tencent.com, one of the country's top internet community operators with over 220 million users.

China's government-run media outlet Xinhua explains in a 2006 report that QQ coins were originally intended to be used to buy Tencent.com services such as electronic greeting cards, avatars, virtual game chips, and Tencent software. But many users began trading the currency amongst themselves and in exchange for other goods and services - and more worrying for China's government - real yuan.

The practice had apparently become so widespread and publicized, some regulatory officials began worrying it could challenge the legitimate currency of China. Xinhua claims trade in virtual currency exceeded several billion yuan last year and increases at an average rate of 15 to 20 per cent annually.

The occasional real-world slaying over virtual goods couldn't have helped either.

In a statement following the decree, Tencent said it supported the new rule and would work with authorities to combat online crimes. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.