China cracks down on bitcoin
China has put the kibosh on the cool new way to sneak money out of the country: bitcoin. Reuters reports that the number of trades on three of China's most popular bitcoin exchanges plummeted from 13.8 million on January 5th to just more than 120,000 on February 9th. The government has achieved this in part by convincing the exchanges to charge a 0.2% fee on every transaction, a levy that may defeat the purpose of moving money in the first place.
Why it matters: A slower growing economy and an underdeveloped financial sector have left ordinary Chinese with few options to invest their substantial savings. To avoid rules against taking money out of the country, many Chinese have turned to bitcoin, and now we're seeing the government close down that avenue as well.