Banks follow suit as China’s central bank tightens down on cryptocurrency accounts.

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AgBank, the world’s third-largest bank by assets, has stated that it will follow the PBoC’s lead and seek to prevent its clients from engaging in crypto-related activities.

The Agriculture Bank of China (AgBank) — the world’s third-largest bank by assets — is set to implement Beijing’s firm anti-cryptocurrency measures and rigorously vet its clients to ensure they are not engaged in any form of illegal activities involving crypto transacting, trading or mining.

AgBank issued a statement today in response to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) convening key domestic banks and mobile payment service providers and ordering them to guarantee that banking and settlement services be refused to clients involved in crypto-related activities. According to an official PBoC statement issued today, all banks and payment institutions “must not provide account opening or registration for [virtual currency]-related activities.” It stated:

“Institutions must comprehensively investigate and identify virtual currency exchanges and over-the-counter dealers’ capital accounts, and cut off transaction funds payment links in a timely manner; they must analyze the capital transaction characteristics of virtual currency trading hype activities […] and ensure that relevant monitoring and handling measures are implemented.”

In addition to AgBank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Construction Bank of China, the Postal Savings Bank of China, and the Industrial Bank were also present at the PBoC meeting, as was mobile payments app AliPay.

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AgBank’s statement is the first made by a Chinese state bank in line with the tone of this year’s renewed anti-crypto measures, which have included the State Council’s Financial Stability and Development Committee’s decision in late May to restrict Bitcoin (BTC) mining due to financial risk concerns.

Regional financial regulators in China have also stepped up their game, issuing warnings against illegal crypto- and blockchain-focused financing platforms or advertising campaigns, as well as prohibiting financial and payment institutions from “directly or indirectly [providing] virtual currency-related services.”

AgBank has said that any clients discovered to be participating in cryptocurrency trading would have their accounts closed and their relationships severed immediately. The megabank first asked its customers to report any suspected crypto-related scams, but this request has allegedly now been removed from the bank’s statement.

Beijing prohibited token issuance and crypto trading as early as 2017, during the market’s first big bull run, and this year has seen a consolidation of Beijing’s anti-decentralized attitude. In mid-May, three major Chinese trade groups released a combined statement warning the public about the hazards of investing in cryptocurrencies: the China Internet Finance Association, the China Banking Association, and the China Payment and Clearing Association.

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Beijing’s massive crackdown on cryptocurrency mining has been prompted by concerns over the industry’s carbon impact, particularly in places such as Inner Mongolia. At least three mining companies — BTC.TOP, Huobi, and HashCow — have been forced to halt operations in the mainland. In keeping with the center’s anti-crypto position, the country’s social media networks and internet firms have filtered crypto-related search results and blocked crypto-related accounts in recent months.

 

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