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Asia's regulators crack down on digital currencies

Explosive growth in fundraising raises concerns about investor protection

The app released by cryptocurrency payments company TenX includes a "deposit page" for bitcoins. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

HONG KONG Authorities in Asia are alarmed at the rapid volume of investment in digital tokens offered through initial coin offerings, and are scrambling to create regulatory frameworks for the sector.

The People's Bank of China has declared all ICOs to be illegal, shut down exchanges on which tokens were being traded, and demanded that money raised from sales be returned to investors. Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission said on Sept. 5 that some digital tokens may be defined as securities, which would tighten the regulation of issues and trading, following similar action by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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