BEIJING (Reuters) – China is poised to further tighten rules on virtual currencies after regulators on Monday banned virtual coin fundraising schemes, Chinese financial news outlet Yicai reported citing sources.
China banned and deemed illegal the practice of raising funds through launches of token-based digital currencies, targeting so-called initial coin offerings (ICO) in a market that has exploded since the start of the year.
Yicai’s report late Monday cited a source close to decision-makers as saying the announcement on the ban was just the start of further follow-up regulations of virtual currencies.
In total, $2.32 billion has been raised through ICOs globally, with $2.16 billion of that being raised since the start of 2017, according to cryptocurrency analysis website Cryptocompare.
Bitcoin rival Ethereum, which token-issuers usually ask to be paid in and which has seen dramatic growth this year, fell sharply on the news. It was down almost 20 percent on Monday at $283, according to trade publication Coindesk.
Bitcoin was also down 8 percent, while the total value of all cryptocurrencies was down around 10 percent after China’s ban was announced, according to industry website Coinmarketcap.com.
Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Shri Navaratnam