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China has a ‘love-hate’ relationship with blockchain and crypto

China has a “love-hate relationship” with cryptocurrency and the blockchain with many in the country seeing significant opportunities in the latter, Edith Yeung, head of 500 Startups’ China unit, told CNBC Tuesday.

The craze of cryptocurrencies has swept across the globe in the last few years as the price of digital coins, like bitcoin, soared and then fell dramatically. Many critics have poured scorn on the volatility of the currencies and their lack of government regulation.

But many have spoken favorably of the blockchain, which is the public ledger behind some of these currencies, including bitcoin. The blockchain has won plaudits because it cannot be tampered with or changed retrospectively. Advocates of the technology say this makes bitcoin transactions secure and safer than current system.

Speaking to CNBC’s Eunice Yoon at East Tech West in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China, Yeung said the Chinese government is investing in the blockchain but said “what they are not endorsing is the crypto part of things, which is challenging the fundamental of financial systems.”

She made the comments when asked what the strategy was for cryptocurrency in China, after the government banned cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) there in September 2017, marking the start of a crackdown on digital currency in the country.

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