China’s campaign to clamp down on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges has taken its first casualty.
On Thursday, Shanghai-based Bitcoin exchange BTC China announced that it will cease its China-facing trading operations by the end of September. In a statement posted on Twitter, the exchange said that “after carefully considering the announcement published by Chinese regulators on 09/04, BTC China Exchange will stop all trading on 09/30.”
Other BTC China products, including BTCC Pool and international exchanges, are not affected by the change, according to the company.
BTC China’s announcement comes on the heels of reports that Shanghai authorities have issued a verbal order to Bitcoin exchanges based in the city to stop their operations. According to Shanghai-based Yicai business news outlet, the shutdown order would go into effect by the “end of September.”
There is no information yet if the ban will include other forms of trading, such as peer-to-peer trading.
BTC China, one of the three biggest exchanges in China, previously said that it will comply with local regulatory policies “and resolutely protect the customer’s asset security.” The two other exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi, have yet to make a statement on the matter.
The news of a possible exchange ban comes as China attempts to minimize financial risks ahead of a key Community Part leadership reshuffle in October. Chinese regulators are keeping mum on the issue, although other organizations—those that lack regulatory power—are weighing in on the situation. The National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a self-regulatory agency established by the People’s Bank of China, warned its members about the risks of cryptocurrency trading.
“Investors who engage in speculations on “virtual currency” trading platforms are susceptible to risks related to significant price volatility and security issues. These risks are further compounded by technical risks inherent to the platforms,” the agency said on its website.
This isn’t the first time that Chinese regulators have targeted the local cryptocurrency space. In February, domestic digital currency exchanges, including BTC China, stopped Bitcoin withdrawals on their platforms while they improve their anti-money laundering capabilities to prevent “illegal transactions” as part of the requirements set by the Chinese central bank.
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