BTC China to halt bitcoin trading amid reports of blanket ban
BTC China, a major bitcoin exchange platform in China, said on Thursday that it will suspend all trading at the end of the month.
The announcement comes amid intensifying rumours that all domestic bitcoin exchanges may be facing closure as the government cracks down on cryptocurrencies, which have been traded beyond the scope of regulators. Several news organisations have reported that Beijing was preparing to place a blanket ban on trading in virtual currencies, but such a move has not been officially confirmed yet.
BTC China stopped registering new users today and will halt all trading on the platform from September 30, according to a statement posted its website on Thursday evening.
The decision was made in response to a recent ban imposed by the authorities on the practice of fundraising through initial coin offerings (ICOs), which serves to protect investors, according to the statement.
It follows an announcement by China’s Bitkan earlier this week that it would suspend its over-the-counter bitcoin and bitcoin cash trading services from today, also citing the ICO ban.
The price of bitcoin slumped on Thursday, dipping by as much as 36 per cent to 16,000 yuan (US$2,440) at 8pm, after financial news site Yicai.com said China’s regulators had taken the decision to shut down all bitcoin trading platforms.
The move to eliminate all bitcoin trading was to prevent financial and social risk, and exchanges should negotiate with bitcoin owners to resolve their existing business, Yicai.com said, citing several unnamed officials in charge of internet finance.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the Chinese authorities were planning to shut down bitcoin exchanges.
BTC China, OKCoin and Huobi are the three biggest bitcoin exchanges in China.
The state-backed National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) on Wednesday issued a statement on its website, saying that all cryptocurrencies including bitcoin lack a foundation for their value and that their exchange platforms are operating unlawfully in China.
China’s US$150 billion cryptocurrency market accounts for roughly a quarter of global bitcoin trade. It is home to many of the world’s biggest bitcoin miners – independent groups who process bitcoin transactions and in return for fees and newly created digital currency.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said 90 per cent of the ICOs launched in China were found to have been fraudulent.