Chinese Authorities May Freeze Bank Accounts Tied to Initial Coin Offerings

Chinese media has reported that the People’s Bank of China may move to freeze bank accounts associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs). The reports have surfaced following China’s suspension of all ICOs operating within China’s borders.

Also Read: Four ICO Startups Refund Investors Hours After China Bans Token Sales

Chinese Financial Institutions Are Now Prohibited From Providing Services for Token Financing

Chinese media has reported that the Beijing Operation Management Department of the People’s Bank of China has issued a notice to financial institutions prohibiting the provision of financial services to ICOs. The notices states that “financial institutions and non-bank payment agencies shall not provide service or product like account opening, registration, trading, clearing and settlement for token financing and virtual currency”.

This week, China began to carry out a sweeping crackdown on ICOs. China’s central bank described ICOs as “an unapproved illegal public financing behavior,” and has suspended all ICOs operating within China, and banned the practice of fundraising through token sales. Chinese authorities have also mandated that initial coin offerings operating in China provide full refunds to Chinese investors.

Bank Accounts Associated With Initial Coin Offerings Will Be Subject to Daily Monitoring

Additionally, the notice requires that banks and financial institutions carry out daily monitoring of accounts associated with initial coin offerings. “Individual accounts related to… ICO platforms must be identified. Large amount or frequent deposit and withdrawal will be restricted. Immediate restrictive measure should be taken on accounts that are in line with suspicious [anti-money laundering] reporting standards and report to authority timely.” The reporting requirements are expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, with an anonymous source telling Chinese media that “requiring banks and payment agencies to report… will continue for a long time”.

China’s ICO crackdown comprises the most aggressive governmental response to initial coin offerings thus far. By contrast, the United States, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong have issued statements articulating a desire to regulate the issuance of unlicensed securities through ICOs through existing financial authorities, implying that the distribution of utility tokens through initial coin offerings will not run afoul of current financial regulations.