China’s ICO Ban: A Full Translation of Regulator Remarks

The following is a full translation of statements by China’s financial regulators outlining a recent ban on initial coin offerings. 


Recently, a number of token fundraising activities in the country, including initial coin offerings, have emerged for the purposes of financing and speculation. Such [sales] are considered illegal and disruptive to economic and financial stability.

In order to be compliant with the messages conveyed during the National Financial Work Conference, to protect the legal rights of investors and to prevent financial risks, we have the following announcement.

The statement is based on the law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the laws of the People’s Bank of China, commercial banking and securities law, cybersecurity and telecommunications law, and financing and financial activities law.

1. An accurate acknowledgement of the nature of ICOs

“Token fundraising” refers to a process where fundraisers distribute digital tokens to investors who make financial contributions in the form of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.

By nature, it is an unauthorized and illegal public financing activity, which involves financial crimes such as the illegal distribution of financial tokens, the illegal issuance of securities and illegal fundraising, financial fraud and pyramid scheme.

Relevant authorities will closely monitor the latest market status and collaborate with the justice department and local governments.

Altogether, they will strictly enforce the current legal framework to solve the market chaos. Any criminal suspicion will be handed over to the justice department.

The tokens or “cryptocurrencies” that are distributed during the token fundraising are not issued by the monetary authority, which has no legal property as fiat currency does and cannot circulate in the monetary market.

Any organization or individual is prohibited from starting illegal token fundraising activity

Starting from the date of this announcement, all kinds of fundraising activities through token issuance should stop immediately.

Organizations and individuals who have completed token fundraising previously shall make arrangements such as refunding crypto assets to investors to protect investor rights, and to deal with the risks properly.

Relevant law enforcements will investigate and severely punish those who refuse to halt fundraising activities through token issuance and those whose completed token fundraising activates are found to have violated the law or regulation.

Reinforce the supervision on platforms that provide exchange services for tokens issued during the fund raising

Starting from the date of this announcement, any so-called token exchange platform shall not:

  • Be involved in offering exchange services between fiat currency and tokens
  • Buy or sell tokens for cryptocurrencies, or act as a central party facilitating the trading of tokens for cryptocurrencies
  • Provide price bidding or middleman service for the exchange of tokens for cryptocurrency.

For any token exchange platform that violates the law or regulation, financial authorities will request:

  • The telecommunication department to shut down its website and mobile application.
  • The Cyberspace Administration of China to delist its mobile application from app stores.
  • The State Administration for Industry and Commerce to discard its business license.

No financial institutions or non-banking payment institutions shall operate businesses that deal with token fundraising

All financial institutions and non-banking payment institutions shall not directly or indirectly provide account opening, registration, trading, clearing and settlement services for token fundraising activities; shall not underwrite any insurance policy that relates to tokens and cryptocurrency, or include any token and cryptocurrency under the insurance policy coverage.

Should any financial institution and non-banking payment institution be found in violation of the law or regulation, they should be reported to relevant authorities immediately. The public should be highly vigilant about potential risks that come with token fundraising and trading.

Token fund raising and trading pose multiple risks, including fraudulent assets, business operational failure, and speculation, etc. Investors are responsible for taking such risks themselves and thus are advised to remain cautious on suspicious projects.

For any illegal financing activity that operates under the name of “coin,” the public should become better at spotting scams and always stay vigilant against risks, and should report to the authority any lead of law and regulation violation.

Industry Organizations Should be Self-disciplined.

Different financial industry organizations should study the regulation well and have member companies to voluntarily fight against any illegal financial activity that relates to token and cryptocurrency fund raising; should stay away from this market chaos; should improve the education for investors; and jointly maintain the financial stability.

Read the original statement in full below:

中国人民银行 中央网信办 工业和信息化部 工商总局 银监会 证监会 保监会关于防范代币发行融资风险的公告

近期,国内通过发行代币形式包括首次代币发行(ICO)进行融资的活动大量涌现,投机 炒作盛行,涉嫌从事非法金融活动,严重扰乱了经济金融秩序。为贯彻落实全国金融工作 会议精神,保护投资者合法权益,防范化解金融风险,依据《中华人民共和国人民银行法 》、《中华人民共和国商业银行法》、《中华人民共和国证券法》、《中华人民共和国网 络安全法》、《中华人民共和国电信条例》、《非法金融机构和非法金融业务活动取缔办 法》等法律法规,现将有关事项公告如下:

一、准确认识代币发行融资活动的本质属性

代币发行融资是指融资主体通过代币的违规发售、流通,向投资者筹集比特币、以太币 等所谓“虚拟货币”,本质上是一种未经批准非法公开融资的行为,涉嫌非法发售代币票 券、非法发行证券以及非法集资、金融诈骗、传销等违法犯罪活动。有关部门将密切监测 有关动态,加强与司法部门和地方政府的工作协同,按照现行工作机制,严格执法,坚决 治理市场乱象。发现涉嫌犯罪问题,将移送司法机关。

代币发行融资中使用的代币或“虚拟货币”不由货币当局发行,不具有法偿性与强制性等 货币属性,不具有与货币等同的法律地位,不能也不应作为货币在市场上流通使用。

二、任何组织和个人不得非法从事代币发行融资活动

本公告发布之日起,各类代币发行融资活动应当立即停止。已完成代币发行融资的组织和 个人应当做出清退等安排,合理保护投资者权益,妥善处置风险。有关部门将依法严肃查 处拒不停止的代币发行融资活动以及已完成的代币发行融资项目中的违法违规行为。

三、加强代币融资交易平台的管理

本公告发布之日起,任何所谓的代币融资交易平台不得从事法定货币与代币、“虚拟货币 ”相互之间的兑换业务,不得买卖或作为中央对手方买卖代币或“虚拟货币”,不得为代 币或“虚拟货币”提供定价、信息中介等服务。

对于存在违法违规问题的代币融资交易平台,金融管理部门将提请电信主管部门依法关闭 其网站平台及移动APP,提请网信部门对移动APP在应用商店做下架处置,并提请工商管 理部门依法吊销其营业执照。

四、各金融机构和非银行支付机构不得开展与代币发行融资交易相关的业务

各金融机构和非银行支付机构不得直接或间接为代币发行融资和“虚拟货币”提供账户开 立、登记、交易、清算、结算等产品或服务,不得承保与代币和“虚拟货币”相关的保险 业务或将代币和“虚拟货币”纳入保险责任范围。金融机构和非银行支付机构发现代币发 行融资交易违法违规线索的,应当及时向有关部门报告。

五、社会公众应当高度警惕代币发行融资与交易的风险隐患

代币发行融资与交易存在多重风险,包括虚假资产风险、经营失败风险、投资炒作风险等,投资者须自行承担投资风险,希望广大投资者谨防上当受骗。

对各类使用“币”的名称开展的非法金融活动,社会公众应当强化风险防范意识和识别能 力,及时举报相关违法违规线索。

六、充分发挥行业组织的自律作用

各类金融行业组织应当做好政策解读,督促会员单位自觉抵制与代币发行融资交易及“虚 拟货币”相关的非法金融活动,远离市场乱象,加强投资者教育,共同维护正常的金融秩

Calligraphy image via Shutterstock

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