China’s ICO sector has come under strict supervision after months of breakneck growth. After an announcement by the National Internet Finance Association of China and subsequent reports of investigations by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the country’s largest platforms including Bitcoin China’s ICOCOIN and ICOINFO are announcing the suspension of operations.
The platforms provide ways for users to administer initial coin offerings (ICOs) using cryptocurrencies as a way of crowdfunding for an organization or investment in a project. Such platforms have proved highly popular in China in part because they provide another class of investment opportunity in a country where options are slim.
“The number of projects that have been launched in the name of ICO (Initial Coin Offerings) has grown rapidly in the country, disrupting the socioeconomic order and creating a greater risk danger,” said the statement. It listed the issues of “misleading propaganda” to attract financing activities without permission. This means the institutions are suspected of fraud, illegal fundraising and issuing illegal securities. The statement criticizes the lack of transparency in the organizations’ dealings and intents.
The brief warns people of the dangers of getting involved in such fundraising schemes and calls for greater self-discipline from members of the National Internet Finance Association of China.
On the same day, ICOINFO, China’s second-largest ICO platform announced it would be temporarily suspending any new ICO services while awaiting updates from the authorities on any regulatory changes. On September 2, Bitcoin China (BTCChina, 比特币中国) announced it would be stopping all charging and exchange activities on its ICOCOIN platform and asked users to withdraw any funds by 6 pm September 3.
The global bitcoin value saw a slight drop on the day of the announcement but has since recovered.
Control over money in China remains a problem for the government. The demand for investment opportunities has left Chinese authorities struggling to deal with local and national pyramid selling and Ponzi schemes, which reportedly have even resulted in the deaths of those caught up. Beijing even saw protests in July against the authorities for investigating Shanxinhui and arresting its leader Zhang Tianming as they were concerned they would not get back their investments.
This article first appeared with the headline: China’s ICO platforms suspend operation after social order warning