AgBank Issues Then Retracts Bitcoin Ban

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  • AgBank, China’s third largest bank, has posted and then withdrawn a message saying it is banning proceeds of cryptocurrency from customers’ accounts
  • The message, which was deleted after some 15 minutes, said that the ban was in accordance with the national guidelines
  • Although withdrawn, the AgBank message may be a sign of a bigger ban coming

The Agricultural Bank of China, also known as AgBank, may have accidentally preempted a further Chinese Bitcoin crackdown by saying that it was banning its customers from dealing in cryptocurrency before removing the message. AgBank, the third biggest bank in China, posted the notice on their website this morning stating that it was implementing a “crackdown on virtual currency transactions” in accordance with “the guidance requirements of the relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China”. The post was removed shortly afterward, but not before Bitcoin fell from $34,500 to $32,270, and may be a sign of a country-wide ban.

AgBank Message Supports Suspending Crypto Users

AgBank is one of the ‘Big Four’ Chinese banks, with over CN¥22.609 trillion ($3.28 trillion) in assets under management, so it carries a lot of weight in the Asian banking world. The message was posted on the AgBank website in the early hours of this morning and was quickly picked up by Chinese crypto watchers:

The AgBank message gave three declarations relating to its ban order: it would not “participate in any business activities related to virtual currency” and would suspend the accounts of those discovered to have been dealing in cryptocurrency; customers must “cooperate with our bank’s due diligence work” and assist the bank in its aims to “crack down on illegal and criminal activities involving virtual currency mining and fund transactions”; and customers should be “highly alert to the risks of virtual currency-related business activities” and “beware of being deceived.”

If customers were left in any doubt, the message ended with the warning that “No institution or individual may use bank accounts, products, services, etc. for token issuance financing and virtual currency transactions.

More to Come?

The message was removed from the site some 15 minutes later, but around the time the message was public the price of Bitcoin dropped by $2,230. No reason was given for the removal of the message, although China reporter Colin Wu stated that it may be down to Chinese banks being asked to publish such messages simultaneously, and that AgBank jumped the gun:

This is a more likely scenario than the AgAbank making a mistake or rowing back on the sentiment behind the message, suggesting that another Chinese-based body blow to Bitcoin might not be far away.