Chinese non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace iBox is closing its operations outside the country, adding it would issue refunds starting in September. 

iBox did not give a reason for the closure in a statement, but its international platform had been selling NFTs denominated in USDT, a stablecoin, according to a video circulating online.

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Image: Announcement from iBox International NFT Marketplace. It said it would start refunds on September 1 and would officially close the market on December 31, 2022.

China banned all cryptocurrency trading in September 2021, which prompted a mass exodus by crypto exchanges, miners and others in the industry. 

iBox had been backed by an incubator program, which launched in May 2021, under global crypto exchange Huobi. 

In a statement issued on Thursday, Huobi distanced itself from iBox, saying it had exited mainland China in May 2021 and that it had ended its relationship with the NFT platform in January 2022.

“Huobi Global has already terminated all its operations in Mainland China. We would like to remind our users to abide by local laws and regulations and remain vigilant against fraud,” it said.

iBox’s operations in mainland China, which are denominated in fiat currency and not cryptocurrency, are continuing as normal. Its daily sales had exceeded 100 million yuan (US$14.59 million)  at its peak according to local media.

Unlike cryptocurrency, China has not banned NFTs outright. Instead, they are called digital collectibles, and state media regularly publish stories urging the public not to buy and then sell them for quick profit.

Despite the regulatory uncertainty, governments in the economic powerhouses of Shanghai and Beijing continue to include NFTs in their local economic development policies.