Regulators in China are said to be considering a move to close all domestic bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to a report from business media Caixin, sources close to China's internet financial risk rectification work group, have said the decision has not only been reached, but delivered and deployed to local authorities.
The work group was first launched by China's State Department in 2016 to tackle market risks in the country's financial technology industry such as p2p lending. Located in the People’s Bank of China, it also consists of representatives from China’s banking and securities commissions.
As of now, no official announcements from regulators have been seen. However, there are reasons to believe the report may be authentic.
For example, on September 2, Caixin revealed that the same central work group had delivered internal documents to local authorities regarding the ban on token fundraising activity including the ICO, two days before the official announcement.
In a latest Tweet, People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said that "Chinese supervisory authority has decided to close local virtual currency exchanges." However, the news outlet did not link to any more information for elaboration.
Such a move, if true, may further tighten the regulation in China regarding cryptocurrency activities, as by aiming at major exchanges, it may put restrictions on how bitcoin and ether can be traded for traditional currency in the country.
"That is to say, there will not be any so-called platforms in China that offer exchange service among tokens, cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies," the source said.
However, at press time, local exchange operators are said to be pushing back on the claims.
When reached, Huobi said it was operating normally, and that it has not received any notification from authorities on the matter. Other exchanges including OKCoin, BTCC and Binance did not respond to inquiries.
"BTCChina Exchange is operating normally, and has not received any new directives from Chinese regulators," the exchange said on reddit.
According to the data from CoinMarketCap, major China-based cryptocurrency exchanges are among the world’s top 20 by trading volume.
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