Macau’s financial regulator has explicitly barred banks and financial institutions from providing services to initial coin offerings or ICOs and virtual currencies.
The Monetary Authority of Macao, which also serves as Macau’s defacto central bank, has told all financial institutions in the region not to partake or provide services for any tokens related to ICOs or virtual currencies, like bitcoin. The regulator underlined recent events in Mainland China, where authorities announced a sweeping ban on all ICOs after deeming them an “illegal” method of fundraising.
In stating that “financial institutions and non-bank payment institutions are prohibited explicitly by Mainland authorities from providing services for these tokens and virtual currencies”, the Macau authority moved to “remind all the banking and payment institutions in Macao not to participate in or provide, directly or indirectly, any financial services for the related activities.”
Macau, formerly a Portuguese territory until 1999, is now an autonomous administrative region under China, similar to Hong Kong.
The notice also cited a previous release by the authority in 2014, warning the public against using digital currencies, specifically bitcoin.
The authority wrote at the time:
…Bitcoin is a type of virtual commodity which is neither a legal tender nor a financial instrument subject to supervision. Any trading of these commodities involves considerable risks, including but not limited to those relating to money laundering and terrorism financing, against which all participants should remain vigilant.
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