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China was Right to Shut Down Bitcoin Exchanges & ICOs: PBoC Official

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:02 PM

A vice governor of China’s central bank has doubled down on the regulator’s sweeping ban on ICOs in September that also led to the shuttering of local bitcoin exchanges.

According to People’s Bank of China (PBoC) vice-governor Pan Gongsheng, authorities were right to crack the whip on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading in China, once the world’s largest bitcoin trading market.

The central banker was speaking at an annual financial book award ceremony, co-organized by JPMorgan Chase over the weekend, when he raised the “scary” prospect of the cryptocurrency industry continuing to function in the present day – if Chinese authorities hadn’t banned it outright.

In remarks reported by Yicai , the central bank official stated:

If we didn’t shut bitcoin exchanges and crack down on initial coin offerings (ICOs) a few months ago, and if more than 80 percent of the world’s bitcoin transactions and financing activities were still taking place [in] China, which was the case back in January, what would it be like today?…It’s scary to think about.

On September 4th, a number of Chinese authorities including government administrators from a number of ministries and banking, insurance and securities regulators – led by the People’s Bank of China, issued a sweeping and immediate ban on all initial coin offerings in China. Labelling it an ‘illegal’ practice of fundraising, the PBoC said ICO funding had “seriously disrupted the economic and financial order.’

Come September 15, authorities issued Virtual Currency Exchange Cleanup and Regulation Requirements, mandating all bitcoin exchanges and cryptocurrency trading platforms to immediately put an end to new user registrations and publicly outline their roadmap to stop virtual currency transaction services by midnight. Bitcoin exchanges complied with the order, with the likes of BTCC, the world’s first bitcoin exchange, shutting operations toward the end of September.

Meanwhile, Chinese bitcoin miners are already making plans to shift mining operators to other countries, fearing China’s crackdown on the industry could also extend to a ban on mining.

Featured image from Shutterstock.