BTC China to stop trading amid increased government scrutiny

Country's first Bitcoin exchange says it will cease trading from September 30 and is no longer accepting new account registrations, as it points to the Chinese government's recent move to clamp down on cryptocurrency.

BTC China says it will cease trading from September 30 amid growing anticipation the government will further tighten the reins on cryptocurrency transactions.

The country's first and amongst the largest bitcoin exchanges, BTC China on Thursday said it no longer accepted new account registrations and would stop trading on its platform by the end of the month.

It said the move came "after carefully considering" a notice published earlier this month by China Securities Regulatory Commission alongside other relevant regulatory bodies including the Chinese central bank.

The government had expressed concerns over initial coin offerings (ICOs), describing these as illegal and based on speculation. It said they were likely associated with fraudulent and illegal financial activities that could disrupt "economic and financial order".

It then proceeded to ban all ICOs in China as well as instructed organisations and individuals involved in ongoing ICOs to make arrangements for returns and refunds. If these were not carried out, law enforcement would investigate and prosecute where necessary.

The ban, though, did not prevent local investors from participating in ICOs outside of China.

Various media reports since then had suggested that the Chinese government would further clamp down on exchanges that traded cryptocurrencies, though, this had yet to be publicly announced.

BTC China said its other services, such as its mining pool, remained unaffected and open to customers.

The Singapore government last month said it would step in to regulate ICOs if these involved products regulated under the country's Securities and Futures Act. It had said in March 2014 that intermediaries in virtual currencies would be regulated against money laundering and terrorist funding risks. These organisations also were required to report suspicious transactions.

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