January 16, 2018 / 1:43 PM / a year ago

Shenzhen exchange to punish firms using blockchain to speculate

HONG KONG, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The Shenzhen stock exchange said on Tuesday it would punish companies that speculate on blockchain technology and mislead investors, following steep gains in share prices of more than a dozen companies.

The exchange said it had taken supervision measures on 17 companies, including share trade suspensions to review the causes for unusual share price movements, clarification on companies’ involvement in blockchain technology and potential impacts on their bottom lines.

The exchange’s statement, published on its official Wechat account, did not name the companies.

Blockchain technology underpins bitcoin and other digital currencies that have surged in value in recent months, raising fears of a price bubble.

Chinese regulators have taken a series of steps to clamp down on financial risks associated with virtual currency trades. A Chinese central bank official said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services.

Several companies have issued clarifications on their roles in blockchain technology. Shanghai U9 Game said its core business does not involve blockchain technology.

Earlier this week, Sichuan Shuangma Cement, Shenzhen Kaifa Technology and a few others made similar announcements. (Reporting by Min Zhang and Meg Shen; Editing by Jane Merriman)

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