On Sunday evening, Financial News, a publication linked to the People's Bank of China (PBoC), reported, "To prevent financial risks, China will step up measures to remove any onshore or offshore platforms related to virtual currency trading or ICOs."
"ICOs and virtual currency trading did not completely withdraw from China following the official ban," the story continues. "After the closure of the domestic virtual currency exchanges, many people turned to overseas platforms to continue participating in virtual currency transactions."
Over the last few months, Chinese authorities have cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges and miners within the country, sending many traders fleeing to over-the-counter platforms like LocalBitcoins.
In the New Year, the Chinese government hasn't let up either. In mid-January of 2018, the PBoC prohibited payment providers from facilitating cryptocurrency trades. The most recent reports signal that China is ratcheting up efforts even further.
Using its "Great Firewall," the Chinese government may soon block websites belonging to international cryptocurrency exchanges and digital currency projects. But if hardcore cryptocurrency enthusiasts and desperate investors have anything to say about it, virtual private networks (VPNs) may still keep non-state digital currency alive in China.