China's Crypto Exchanges Yank Token Listings Amid ICO Ban Fallout

China has banned ICOs – and the country's exchanges are quickly moving to adapt to the new reality.

AccessTimeIconSep 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 11, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchanges in China are moving to delist cryptographic tokens sold through initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the wake of a government crackdown on the funding model.

As previously reported, regulators issued a statement over the weekend which declared that ICOs constitute an illegal form of fundraising in China. The government ordered that ICO organizer refund investors, demanding that any related activities "shall cease immediately."

Signs indicate that China's exchange ecosystem – which earlier this year moved to accommodate new rules from the country's central bank – is quickly adapting to the guidance. Domestic exchanges Yunbi, Yuanbao and Dahonghuo have all issued statements to this effect, moving to deactivate markets that trade ICO-derived tokens.

Perhaps most dramatically, BitBays announced that it would stop operating its digital asset exchange entirely, later stating on Twitter that it is shifting its resources to another platform.

"Due to the new regulatory changes led by China's central bank, the British company BitBays decides to cease operations of its digital asset exchange 'Bi Bei Wang' in China," the company said.

CoinDesk reported earlier this week that exchanges that offer ICO services have been moving to return money to select customers, citing the government decision. Signs also indicate that some blockchain projects that have hosted ICOs, including EOS, have moved to distance themselves from China entirely.

Indeed, the situation has led some platform operators to question whether they’ll be able to keep running in the long term.

"We [are] just waiting for regulators more instructions. If they want to close all ICO platforms, we don't have another choice," James Gong, founder of ICOage, told CoinDesk earlier this week.

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