China’s cryptocurrency trading ban is very close to reality.
The country’s regulators have reportedly issued an order to all local cryptocurrency exchanges to halt new user registration by midnight on Sept. 15 and publicly notify users when they’ll formally close.
China’s state-owned Caixin broke the news on Friday, ending weeks of rumors and speculation about the country-wide crypto trading ban. While the news isn’t official yet, Caixin said it has seen the policy document and confirmed its authenticity with a source close to China’s regulators.
This is more bad news from Bitcoin, whose price started to fall after China’s regulators said they would ban all ICOs (initial coin offerings) in the country.
The price of Bitcoin and nearly all other cryptocurrencies has dropped sharply in the last couple of days. At time of writing, one Bitcoin is price at about $3,014, down 18.54 percent in the last 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap, and down nearly 40 percent from its July all-time-high of $4,952.
Caixin says all exchanges must also publish their plans to exit the market by 6 p.m. Beijing time Sept. 20. The outlet does not say when the exchanges must close their operations, but there are several indications that the set date is Sept. 30. Two Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges, BTCChina and ViaBTC, have already announced they would close on that date, and trading platform OKex said on Friday it would remove three major Chinese exchanges—BTCChina, OKcoin and Huobi—from its index on Sept. 30.
According to Caixin, all key members of all crypto exchanges in China, including shareholders, must remain in Beijing to cooperate with authorities.
It’s unclear whether there are plans, as some have speculated, to re-launch cryptocurrency exchanges in China under new rules, or the ban is permanent.
UPDATE: Sept. 15, 2017, 3:38 p.m. UTC Huobi and OKCoin, two largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China, have posted notices similar to the ones posted by BTCChina and ViaBTC. According to the documents, both exchanges will stop all trading operations by October 31. Both documents say they’re complying with official guidance from China’s regulatory bodies.
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.