from Zero Hedge:
Ethereum and bitcoin are crashing this morning, after China confirmed its recent threat of an ICO crackdown (reported here last Monday) when the central bank said on Monday that initial coin offerings are illegal and disrupt financial markets, according to statement on China’s central bank website. The PBOC also asked all related fundraising activity to be halted immediately, issuing the strongest regulatory challenge so far to the controversial if surging market for digital token sales.
The crackdown was announced in a statement on the PBOC's website in which the central bank said that it had completed investigations into ICOs, and will strictly punish offerings in the future while penalizing legal violations in ones already completed. The regulator said that organizations or individuals that completed initial coin offerings should return the money raised, in move "to protect investors’ rights and properly handle risks," though it didn’t specify how the money would be paid back to investors.
Taking the recent SEC crackdown on Initial Coin Offerings several steps further, the PBOC also said digital token financing and trading platforms are prohibited from doing conversions of coins with fiat currencies. Digital tokens can’t be used as currency on the market and banks are forbidden from offering services to initial coin offerings, and are also also banned from offering pricing and information services on coins. Most importantly was the PBOC's determination that "digital token can’t be used as currency on the market" and its warning that "China will strictly punish over sustained offerings and law violations in completed ones."
The central bank’s Monday directive made no mention of cryptocurrencies such as ether or bitcoin. Bitcoin tumbled over 8%, the most since July on a closing basis, to $4,480. Ethereum was down more than 11% Monday, to just above $310, after trading nearly $400 last week.
“This is somewhat in step with, maybe not to the same extent, what we’re starting to see in other jurisdictions - the short story is we all know regulations are coming,” Jehan Chu, managing partner at Kenetic Capital in Hong Kong, which invests in and advises on token sales, told Bloomberg. “China, due to its size and as one of the most speculative IPO markets, needed to take a firmer action.”
As described previously, ICOs are controversial digital token sales that have seen unchecked growth over the past year, raising $1.6 billion and surpassed traditional venture capital raising pathways. They have been deemed a threat to China’s financial market stability as authorities struggle to tame financing channels that sprawl beyond the traditional banking system. Widely seen as a way to sidestep venture capital funds and investment banks, they have also increasingly captured the attention of central banks that see in the fledgling trend a threat to their reign.
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