The People’s Bank of China has told the country’s big banks and other finance sector heavyweights to cut off financing sources for cryptocurrency transactions, it announced this afternoon.

Fast facts: 

  • The PBoC issued its instruction at a meeting attended by representatives of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, Industrial Bank, digital payment giant Alipay and other banking and payment institutions.
  • In an announcement, the PBoC accused cryptocurrencies of disrupting the normal order of financial activity and providing a breeding ground for illegal cross-border transactions. It urged financial institutions to prohibit “crypto-related activities” from accessing their services and told them to “thoroughly inspect and monitor” existing clients’ transactions for potential involvement in crypto.
  • Three hours before the PBoC’s announcement, Agricultural Bank of China, the country’s third-largest lender by assets, issued a similar statement before withdrawing it less than two hours later.
  • In its statement, Agricultural Bank of China said that once a crypto-related transaction was discovered, it would immediately shut down the accounts involved, terminate its relationships with the customers involved, and report the involved parties to “relevant departments.”
  • The PBoC’s move is the latest in a series of broadsides against China’s crypto industry, which initially enjoyed explosive growth but which has come under regulatory attack by various authorities and industry bodies for the past eight years. All sides of the industry have increasingly drawn fire in recent months, from banks being told to distance themselves from crypto to miners of cryptocurrencies being ordered to shut down in Sichuan Province and other parts of the country.