Bitcoin, other leading cryptocurrencies tumble after China bans ICOs

© Reuters. Cryptocurrencies sink after China bans ICOs – Bitcoin and the other leading cryptocurrencies all sold off sharply on Monday, after China banned individuals and organizations from raising funds through initial coin offerings, saying the practice constituted illegal fundraising.

The People’s Bank of China said in a statement earlier that it had completed investigations into ICOs, and will strictly punish offerings in the future while penalizing legal violations in ones already completed.

Individuals and organizations that have completed ICO fundraisings should make arrangements to return funds, the PBOC said, issuing the strongest regulatory challenge so far to the burgeoning market for digital token sales.

It also said digital token financing and trading platforms are prohibited from doing conversions of coins with fiat currencies.

The popularity of coin offerings has surged in China this year. ICOs have become a bonanza for digital currency entrepreneurs, allowing them to raise large sums quickly by creating and selling digital “tokens” with little or no regulatory oversight.

Bitcoin dropped to $4,345.70 by 6:00AM ET (1000GMT), down $249.30, or around 5.5%, after hitting a low of $4,253.00. The digital currency rallied to an all-time high of $4,911.80 over the weekend.

Ethereum, Bitcoin’s closest rival in terms of market cap, sank 11%, or $38.52, to $312.69. It briefly rose to a record peak of $394.78 on Saturday.

Other prominent cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ripple and Dash also traded sharply lower.

The total value of all publicly traded cryptocurrencies was $150 billion, a figure that was down more than 16% from a high of nearly $180 billion reached on Saturday night.

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