Executives from at least 17 Shanghai-based exchanges, including BTCChina, have been told not to leave China, according to reports. The exchanges listed were all connected to ICO activity and the aim of the travel ban is supposedly to “assist refunding work”.
Red Li of 8BTC News wrote today that 90 percent of ICO projects have returned funds to investors — as mandated by the People’s Bank in its initial ICO ban a month ago. The 17 exchanges listed by Shanghai’s “Internet financial Risk Rectification Work Group” were known to trade ICO tokens.
Notably, the first whiff of a crackdown on ICOs was also in Shanghai in late August. The city’s Pudong District Market Authority suddenly interrupted and closed the Finwise 2017 Global Blockchain Summit, sending its 2,000 attendees home. At that stage there were still doubts the action would spread further, though that’s indeed what happened.
17 ICO-Related Exchanges Mostly New, Unknown
Other than BTCChina, the 17 listed companies are relatively new with names unknown to most casual observers.
According to 8BTC, they are: BTCChina, Binance, Szzc, Lhang, Etcwin, Bitequang, 51szzc, Hanbiwang, Btcb, 19800, FreeWillex, ICOAGE, 91ICO, ICOrace, ICOfox, ICORaise, ICO17.
Most of those companies have shuttered trading, except Binance. That company was founded by former Blockchain and OKCoin executive Changpeng Zhao as a cryptocurrency-only trading platform, launching only recently. Bitsonline has contacted Zhao for comment.
BTCChina closed its domestic platform about 10 days ago, though the international BTCC exchange is still open. BTCC is also still operating a mining pool and is still selling its BTCC Mint physical bitcoins to Chinese buyers. It announced a new coin batch just last week.
Chinese Bitcoin Community Angry at ICO Greed
The executive international travel ban has been whispered about in the Chinese cryptocurrency community for a week or two. However this list is the first solid proof that such a ban ever existed.
As always with Chinese digital asset regulation, the exact rules and reasoning remain unknown to those not directly affected.
Other large exchanges, including OKCoin and Huobi, were also ordered to cease trading by 15th September. In a case of unusual timing, OKCoin also moved to a new office location, prompting speculation the company was shutting down completely.
Without an exchange to run, though, it’s not clear what OKCoin’s staff will do. It’s still unclear whether the trading “suspension” is a temporary measure or a permanent one.
Li added that the industry blames the ICO bandwagon for its losses, writing: “There are voices in the community that the greed of ICO operators has ruined the industry and the ecosystem. Bitcoin exchange could have survived the regulatory ban if it were not for the scammy ICOs in the market.”
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