All of China’s three leading Bitcoin exchanges have announced the suspension of virtual currency operations, while the authorities are preventing their senior executives from leaving the Chinese capital.
Both Huobi.com and OKCoin have officially announced that they plan to suspend all transaction operations in relation to virtual currencies.
Their announcements arrive just after BTC China indicated on 14 September that it would suspend operations in the wake of a crackdown on initial coin offerings and related business by the People’s Bank of China.
BTC China, Huobi.com and OKCoin are the three main Bitcoin exchanges in China, collectively accounting for 60% of virtual currency transactions within the industry.
Multiple inside sources said to Chinese media that authorities are preventing the senior executives of Bitcoin exchanges from leaving Beijing and requiring that they cooperate with ongoing investigations.
The Chinese government is also requiring that shareholders, the actual controllers of online exchanges, as well as their senior management and finance exec all remain in Beijing and fully cooperate with work conducted by regulators.
On the afternoon of 4 September the People’s Bank of China issued the “Public Notice Concerning the Prevention of Cryptocurrency Issuance Financial Risk” (关于防范代币发行融资风险的公告) in conjunction with six other central government departments, prohibiting any individuals or organisations from engaging in ICO’s.
The public announcement called for the immediate suspension of all cryptocurrency financial activities, as well as for individuals and organisations that have raised funds via cryptocurrency issuance to make arrangements for repayments to investors.
It also stated that “so-called cryptocurrency financing and transaction platforms” are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving virtual currencies, the conversion of virtual currencies into fiat money, and the provision of services including pricing and information intermediation in relation to virtual currencies.