The Macau Monetary Authority (MMA) has barred payment providers and banks operating within the area from issuing initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.
In an official statement, the MMA stated that these organisations must not engage “directly or indirectly” with Bitcoin or “other cryptocurrencies.”
Macau Follows China’s Lead to Ban Cryptocurrency and ICOs to protect unsafe investments.
The authority cited “recent happenings of financing activities” in the Chinese mainland as the main reason for prohibiting financial services to ICOs and digital currencies.
Macau and Cryptocurrency Regulations
Macau is an autonomous territory, administered under Chinese sovereignty.
Although it mostly follows China’s lead, Macau’s legislation is not always tied to the People’s Republic of China. It is the only place in the country where people go to play casino games, and it has subsequently become a global hub for gaming to rival Las Vegas.
Some 30 million tourists ventured to Macau in 2016, many of which headed there to experience the glitz and glamour of the Macau casino scene, which dominates the city’s skyline.
Many entertainment brands based on the Vegas Strip have also put their name to resorts in Macau, leading to its recent nickname as the “Vegas of the Far East.” In fact, it upstaged Vegas entirely in gaming revenues, raking in $28 billion in 2016, more than four times that of Vegas ($6.3 billion).
However, in the case of virtual currencies, the region has introduced a directive in line with Chinese regulators. This latest move is by no means a surprise given that analysis of cryptocurrencies in 2014 by the MMA stated that Bitcoin was not regulated or an authorised form of currency in China.
On the mainland, the People’s Bank of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Central Network Office, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the China Banking Regulatory Commission have all outlawed ICOs throughout China.
China’s restrictions are set to increase further still, with plans afoot to ban cryptocurrency exchanges for trading virtual currencies.
The heightened regulations will expand the monitoring of cryptocurrency accounts and provide an overview of where foreign currency is heading into ICOs located overseas.
It is therefore clear that Chinese regulators now have little confidence in ICOs and cryptocurrency trading.
Although Bobby Lee, CEO and co-founder of BTCC spoke in January about the prospect of China resuming ICOs and cryptocurrency trading once the state had managed to eliminate the bad practice, this latest stance suggests China’s restrictions are part of a long-term plan.
Despite the state’s dismissiveness about cryptocurrencies, it seems Chinese policy advisors are keen on tapping into the potential of blockchain technology — born out of the rise of Bitcoin and virtual currency trading.
The annual political event, comprising the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), which started earlier this month, discussed the positive effects of blockchain and how it can be adopted within real-life applications.
The nation has already seen pilots of blockchain technology in sectors such as the insurance industry in a bid to find ways of improving operational efficiencies.
Macau followed China’s lead to ban cryptocurrency and ICOs, but they’re not the only ones.
Here you can find out more about the latest ICO regulations from around the world.