China Internet Finance Association: Bitcoin Exchanges Lack 'Legal Foundation'

A self-regulatory association in China focused on digital finance has issued a new warning on cryptocurrency trading activities.

In a statement released today, China’s National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) asserted that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have become a tool for speculation among investors, while also serving as a payment conduit for illegal fundraising and money laundering. Although a self-regulatory organization and not a regulatory agency itself, NIFA was first initiated in 2015 by the People’s Bank of China and approved by the State Council.

The release comes just under two weeks after NIFA published a warning on initial coin offerings, or ICOs, which itself was followed by a ban on the funding model by Chinese regulators. Exchanges and other services focused on ICOs have since moved to halt operations or shut down entirely in the wake of that decision.

Of note is the comment that trading platforms for cryptocurrencies in China are not legally sanctioned, with the organization stating:

“Any trading platform for any kind of so-called ‘coin’ has no legal base of foundation in China.”

The notice came days after reports emerged that China’s regulators are reportedly moving toward new restrictions on the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges. Thus far, however, no official announcement has been seen from either the People’s Bank of China or other agencies within the government.

Major exchanges in China, including Huobi, BTCC and OKCoin, still continue operating, while others are exiting the market while citing the regulatory concerns.

Image via Shutterstock

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