How Does China’s Censorship Affect Cryptocurrencies and How Investors Use VPN’s to Bypass It
It is a known fact that China is one of the most strict countries in the world when it comes to providing their citizens with internet freedom and access to foreign websites.
The country's government blocks even some of the largest and most popular websites and services online, such as the video platform YouTube, social media platforms like Facebook, and even Google.
Getting access to the open internet in China is extremely difficult, and the country has yet to change its stance towards online freedoms. In addition, China's government decided to ban cryptocurrency trading last year, which has affected many of its citizens.
However, they still manage to find ways to access cryptocurrecy exchanges by implementing online privacy and anonymity tools such as VPNs. These reports indicate that cryptos and VPNs may not only work together but that they might even have no choice but to do so in under certain conditions.
VPN & cryptocurrencies in China
As mentioned, China banned crypto trading last year, after announcing their intention to block crypto-related sites as far back as two years ago. When they finally made their promise, the infamous Great Firewall of China blocked over 120 cryptocurrency websites, including some of the major exchanges.
Even so, the Chinese citizens still have access to most of the crypto exchanges through the use of online privacy tools like VPNs.
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are tools designed to provide internet users with anonimity, privacy, and security during their online sessions. To do this, they use encryption, internet protocols that shield data traffic, as well as servers owned by VPN companies which provide users with an alternative IP addresses, so that their ISPs cannot record users' online actions.
A useful side effect of changing the IP address for one from another part of the world is that censorship attempts can be bypassed. All of the blocked content can be accessed as long as it is available in the country in which the server that provides an alternative IP is located.
Chinese crypto merchants are finding this to be especially useful, but so do regular internet users that have no connection to crypto. Because of this, the VPN usage in China is growing rapidly, and it has been in use for a long time now.
The Chinese government is quite aware of this, and it has been making moves to block VPN providers as well, which might mean that finding an unblocked service may take some digging for services that managed to remain under the government's radar.
However, after finding one and subscribing for their service, China-based internet users can access most of the online content with no issues. They should still be careful about doing so, because recent incidents indicate that the country may be ready to crack down on VPN users as well, despite the fact that current laws do not mark it as illegal.
Important things to know about VPNs
While those who have been using VPN technology likely already know a lot about it, new users are advised to research it before they start applying it during their online sessions, as there are quite a few important things to know about them.
One of them is to avoid using free VPN services, as they do not offer an equal amount of protection to paid services. Furthermore, they might even share users' data with third parties in order to make a profit. Another important thing to keep in mind is that VPN services with the largest number of servers tend to be the most useful, especially for Chinese citizens who are struggling with censorship.
Since online censorship (likely in lesser amounts) is present in most countries of the world, having access to more servers often means having access to more content.
Foreigners that plan on visiting China should consider getting a VPN before traveling to this country, as it is much easier to get to these services on the outside. Finally, cryptocurrency users should know that a lot of VPN services acceps payments in crypto, which increases their privacy, as banks will have no record of users ever paying for a VPN subscription via their bank account.