China Identifies Cryptocurrency as a New form for Bribery and Corruption

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A recent conference held by the Chinese Association for Research on Integrity and Legal Systems emphasized the emergence of new forms of corruption facilitated by cryptocurrencies and electronic gift cards. This national organization, endorsed by the Chinese Law Society and registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, focuses on legal systems and corruption issues.

Experts at the 2023 annual meeting discussed the challenges posed by these new media, which have become hidden channels for bribery and corruption in the digital age. Traditional cash and tangible assets are no longer the only means of bribery; now online transfers, e-gift cards and even cryptocurrencies are being used for illicit transactions, allowing for more discreet and hard-to-trace corrupt practices.

The rapid advances in digital currencies and blockchain technology pose a significant challenge to existing legal and regulatory frameworks. Because these technologies offer anonymity and decentralization, they have become attractive tools for corrupt activities. Some corrupt individuals use encrypted digital currencies for cross-border transactions, avoiding online monitoring through “cold storage” methods such as offline wallets and hard drives.

The growing use of virtual currencies and digital assets in corruption reflects a shift to more sophisticated, technology-driven methods. This trend requires a dual approach of legal and technological management. Strengthening legislation to cover new forms of bribery and corruption, expanding the definition of bribery to include non-material benefits, and improving the digital infrastructure for surveillance and enforcement are essential steps.

Experts recommend the creation of comprehensive databases and rapid analysis systems to improve case processing. Integrating core corruption data with industry-wide big data can improve preventive measures against new forms of corruption. Furthermore, understanding the legal status of virtual properties and their effective regulation within criminal law is critical.

To effectively combat these emerging challenges, experts suggest refining anti-corruption legislation, improving the technological capabilities of surveillance and law enforcement agencies, and encouraging public participation in reporting corrupt activities. Addressing root causes, such as gaps in power and oversight systems, especially in areas with high concentrations of power and resources, is also vital.

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In summary, combating new forms of corruption in the age of digital currencies and electronic gift cards requires a comprehensive approach combining legislative updates, technological advances and public vigilance to maintain integrity and fairness in governance.

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