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The Fight to Control the $2 Trillion Crypto Market Is Heating Up

Investors are being rattled by volatility as the two biggest economies — the U.S. and China — seek to tighten their grip on Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Bitcoin Mining at Russian CryptoUniverse Farm
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
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It’s not that governments like China are banning cryptocurrencies because they necessarily expect the technology to fail. It’s that they want to be in charge of an experiment with potentially trillions of dollars in play.

With its latest move, China joins a small list of nations that are crypto prohibitionists. And it is a swing in the opposite direction of El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender this year and was lauded by Libertarians as well as Bitcoin believers. In the U.S., where crypto trading is allowed but regulators are taking a close look, some see an opportunity in China’s deepening crackdown.