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Inside China's Crypto Scene, a Year After Sweeping Crackdown

China’s ban on cryptocurrencies seemed poised to wipe out the domestic industry. That’s not quite how things played out. 

Crypto enthusiasts at a conference in Dali, southwestern China, in August.

Crypto enthusiasts at a conference in Dali, southwestern China, in August.

Source: Summer of Wamo Organizing Committee

This summer, word started spreading over Chinese social media about a conference in Dali, a city nestled among 4,000-meter (13,100-foot) peaks in the country’s southwest. 

The organizers expected fewer than 200 attendees, but ended up selling out the 1,000-person venue only to see more than double that number ultimately show up for the August event. The topic of the gathering: crypto, the sector China’s government declared largely illegal a year ago.