Confusion reigned in China after one of the country’s largest commercial banks, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), said in a statement it would crack down on crypto transactions and try to freeze accounts related to Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto – related activity – however later deleted his post on the topic before uploading it again.
The bank had issued a brief and concise statement on this, which read: released from a number of Chinese media outlets, including East Money.
BTC, Ethereum (ETH) and many altcoins fell after the announcement before recouping some of the losses. At 10:18 UTC, BTC is trading at $ 33,131 and is down nearly 4% in one day, while ETH is down nearly 5.5% per day and is trading at $ 2,009.
In the statement, the bank wrote that it “prohibits the use of its services for cryptocurrency transactions like Bitcoin”.
It added that it would try to “step up” [its] Investigation and monitoring of customer transactions “and that” if [crypto-]related activities “would take measures such as suspending account transactions and terminating customer service on an” immediate “basis, with potential crypto-offenders being reported to the relevant government agencies as” quickly as possible “.
But just minutes after being picked up by the media, the announcement was dragged without a trace from the news section of the bank’s website. However, the announcement was re-released after the People’s Bank of China confirmed that it had met with major Chinese financial players and urged them to crack down on crypto trading and not offer any other crypto-related financial services.
ABC claimed it made its move “in the spirit” of the latest announcements from market regulators and concluded with a warning about the risks of crypto market investments.
Some accused the bank of “rugging”.
The bank is one of the “Big Four” in the country and went public in 2010 with what was then the largest IPO in the world. However, despite the fact that it is publicly traded, it remains firmly tied to Beijing and China’s monetary policy. The largest shareholder is the state investment vehicle Huijin Investment, which owns over 40% of the company.
The bank is also one of at least five financial institutions working directly with Central People’s Bank of China on its fast-paced digital yuan pilot.
Bitcoin ownership has remained legal in China despite a massive raid in September 2017 that banned crypto exchanges and banned initial coin offerings (ICOs). In recent weeks, however, the government has become increasingly interested in rooting out crypto-related scams and cracking down on crypto mining – which has led to reports of some miners considering relocating overseas.