Cryptocurrency was under pressure Thursday (Sept. 14) after Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTCChina announced it would stop all trading as of Sept. 30.
According to a report in Reuters, a few hours after BTCChina said it was shutting its exchange, Chinese news outlet Yicai said all Bitcoin exchanges will be shuttered by the end of the month. With cryptocurrency growing in popularity, many government regulators have released warnings about the risks associated with the digital currency.
China has already banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), and reports have been swirling for days that it would move to close the Bitcoin exchanges in the country.
BTCChina said it was prompted to announce the closure after receiving a directive from Chinese authorities on Sept. 4. The directive, reported Reuters, expressed worries about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies and called for a ban on ICOs. That missive combined with continued comments from regulators of other countries like Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. have resulted in nearly $60 billion of the total value of cryptocurrencies being erased, the report said.
Earlier in the month, cryptocurrencies were hitting records with Bitcoin reaching an all-time momentary high of $5,000.
“The Chinese ban is causing a panic in the market as mixed messages and lack of clarity has turned sentiment negative,” said Charles Hayter, founder of data analysis site Cryptocompare, in the Reuters interview.
Spokespeople for competing Chinese Bitcoin exchanges OkCoin and Huobi declined to tell Reuters if they were planning on announcing they, too, would be shutting down their exchanges. Huobi said it hasn’t received any directives from China’s regulators on that front, according to the article.
Earlier this month, China put an immediate ban in place on funding of ICOs for Bitcoin and other blockchain-enabled cryptocurrencies. TechCrunch reported at the time that the Central Bank of China had claimed ICOs have “disrupted the economic and financial order.”