Two major Chinese Bitcoin exchanges Huobi.com and Okcoin.cn announced Friday night that they will cease trading by the end of September. The news comes after Internet finance regulators in Beijing ordered all cryptocurrency exchanges in that city to issue notices to cease trading, according to local media.
Another major player, BTC China, issued a statement on the 14th that it would also halt trading by the end of September. With Huobi.com and Okcoin.cn’s announcements, China’s three largest Bitcoin exchanges will officially cease trading by the end of this month.
All cryptocurrency exchanges in Beijing are required to stop accepting new customers immediately and submit risk-free exit plans to the local regulator by 6pm, September 20. Exchanges are also ordered to set up special bank accounts to deposit clients’ assets, deactivate all other accounts and make reports to China’s central bank, according to local media.
In July, Bitcoin trading volume in China reached RMB30.17 billion (US$4.61 billion), with the three exchanges accounting for 60% of the total volume, according to a report from China’s National Committee of Experts on Internet Financial Security Technology.
China is now in the process of officially banning all cryptocurrency exchanges onshore, after prohibiting initial coin offering (ICO) and ICO platforms from engaging in trading on Sept 4. Additional exchanges are expected to close down in Shanghai and Shenzhen as they are reportedly in talks with regulators in those cities.
Beijing’s move against cryptocurrency trading was widely anticipated after the ICO ban earlier in the month. “In the future, there will be no trading platforms for legal currencies and cryptocurrencies. Thus, trading among tokens, cryptocurrencies and RMB are not possible,” an anonymous Chinese official told local media on Sept 8.