The central bank of China has halted all Initial Coin Offering (ICO) campaigns, labeling them as illegal forms of fundraising, according to a Bloomberg report. The ban was announced on Monday via a joint statement from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the financial and securities regulatory body and other sectors in the government on the PBOC website. The announcement saw the price of Bitcoin fall not long after.
ICO campaigns are quite similar to Initial Public Offerings (IPO) as they are used by startup companies to gather funds for launching their business. But instead of offering shares to their investors, ICO campaigns offer their own cryptocurrency, or crypto-tokens as they are called, which are sold to investors in exchange for other digital currencies like Bitcoin. Just like shares, virtual tokens are expected to gain value as the company grows.
According to data from Reuters, ICOs have thus far been used to raise a total of $2.32 billion, of which $2.16 billion was raised since the beginning of 2017 alone. Chinese regulators are now reportedly to begin closely examining the country’s own ICO campaigns which are approximated to be worth millions of dollars.
Namely, in the joint statement, the PBOC warns any businesses or individuals that future ICO offerings will be rigidly punished but also that any legal violations in thus far completed ICO campaigns will likely be penalized. The central bank also informs all organizations or individuals that have completed an ICO campaign that they will need to make arrangements to return the funds they’ve raised.
The update about PBOC’s crackdown has had an impact on the price of Bitcoin, which was on a steady rise in the past month, especially after the cryptocurrency moved past the blockchain split on August 1st. However, analysts believe the decline is temporary.