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Chinese Government Limits Virtual Currency Trading
Chinese Government Limits Virtual Currency Trading
June 30, 2009 | By Chris Remo

June 30, 2009 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

China's Ministry of Commerce has extended its governing reach into online realms, limiting in several ways the trade and conversion of virtual currency.

According to a press release issued by the ministry, virtual currency may now only be used to purchase virtual goods and services, and may not be used to buy real-world goods.

Furthermore, minors are prohibited from buying virtual currency, and virtual currency gambling is a punishable offense.

The measure is most significantly aimed at QQ coins, units of virtual currency issued by Tencent, which have become not only the most widespread online currency China, but are even increasingly used for the purchase of real-world items.

As a result, QQ coins are frequently converted to Chinese yuan, and vice versa. They are also used for purposes of money laundering -- an activity against which the Chinese government says it will become increasingly vigilant in the wake of the new regulations.

The ministry cites online industry expert Cui Ran, who it claims predicted "an impact on the financial system" if the continuing trends were not averted.

While the primary goal of the new rules is to curb the growth in currencies that heavily cross over into the real world, like QQ coins, it may also have an effect on "gold farming" in more traditional MMOs, as that practice relies greatly on the conversion between virtual and real-world moneys.

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Yannick Boucher
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A pretty good move for many reasons. Rampant money laundering being one of the more serious ones.

Ken Carpenter
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Sure trying to curb money laundering is good, but talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water. If people choose to place a real-world value on virtual currencies I think that is none of the government's business. Many people just want to "pay to play".

Jessica Daniels
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I feel happy at the same time sad when I read this news. I'm happy because as a gamer I think that other players who buy wow gold are being unfair. I feel sad because I read an article about a student who "starved" but was able to go on by selling his virtual currency for real money. It's kinda touching story --

Richard Heeks
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For two main reasons - that gold farming is not the target here; and that there's a big gap between announcement and implementation - I suspect this will not have a great deal of impact on gold farming. More analysis on the ICTs for Development blog at:

Jerry Bai
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1. virtual currency still can be traded through trade service companies, not the game operating companies, and this is a big movement that the government confirms that virtual currency can be trade for the first time;

2. forbid the "gambling" system in games, which is common in almost all games in China. This will push the Chinese game companies to put more energy on improving the game quality and contents, but this is bad news to those small game companies and studios for they will lost the most "valuable" revenue source, some games revenue will be reduced by 50%-80%.