Ray, who asked not to be identified by his surname, has already received notice from his cryptocurrency exchange that his account will be shut by the end of the year. But, he said: “I’m now looking at opening an account on a decentralised exchange.”

China’s campaign against cryptocurrencies led to the authorities shutting down bitcoin mining operations in May. That has coincided with the rise of decentralised finance or DeFi, which allows users to trade with each other without any intermediary, such as a bank or broker, and makes it harder to block.

“I still regularly trade crypto,” said one Chinese investor with an overseas bank account. “How can authorities stop me when the industry has developed to evade centralised control?”

While the most severe enforcement against cryptocurrencies came in September, China first banned crypto exchanges in 2017 and Chinese users have been gradually moving towards DeFi.

According to Chainalysis, a research firm, China’s share of global bitcoin transactions peaked in November 2019 at 15 per cent, and had fallen to 5 per cent in June 2021.

In the 12 months to June, mainland China was associated with $256bn of cryptocurrency activity, the highest in Asia, and 49 per cent of the total was traded through DeFi platforms. Uniswap, one of the leading DeFi exchanges, is now the second biggest exchange in East Asia by transaction volume, said Chainalysis.

While the latest restrictions are deterring new blood from entering the crypto markets, some existing cryptocurrency holders are turning to DeFi in order to continue to trade