Chinese financial, payment bodies barred from cryptocurrency business

Cryptocurreny prices have been volatile recently

  
Small toy figurines are seen on representations of the Bitcoin virtual currency displayed in front of an image of China's flag in this illustration picture, April 9, 2019.

Small toy figurines are seen on representations of the Bitcoin virtual currency displayed in front of an image of China's flag in this illustration picture, April 9, 2019.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BEIJING - China has banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions, and warned investors against speculative crypto trading.

Under the ban, such institutions, including banks and online payments channels, must not offer clients any service involving cryptocurrency, such as registration, trading, clearing and settlement, three industry bodies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

"Recently, crypto currency prices have skyrocketed and plummeted, and speculative trading of cryptocurrency has rebounded, seriously infringing on the safety of people's property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order," they said in the statement.

China has banned crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings but has not barred individuals from holding cryptocurrencies.

The institutions must not provide saving, trust or pledging services of cryptocurrency, nor issue financial product related to cryptocurrency, the statement also said.

The statement also highlighted the risks of cryptocurrency trading, saying vitural currencies "are not supported by real value", their prices are easily manipulated, and trading contracts are not protected by Chinese law.

The three industry bodies are: the National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association and the Payment and Clearing Association of China.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Twinnie Siu; Writing by Roxanne Liu; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jane Merriman) ((hongkong.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; (8610)6627-1277; Reuters Messaging: roxanne.liu@thomsonreuters.com))

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