Chinese regulators have tightened restrictions that ban financial institutions and payment companies from providing services to cryptocurrency-related companies, marking a new crackdown on digital money.

In comparison to a previous ban issued in 2017, the new rules have greatly expanded the scope of the banned services and judged that "virtual currencies are not supported for any real value".

The three financial sector associations advised their members, which include banks and online payment companies, not to offer any services related to cryptocurrency companies, such as account opening, registration, trading, clearing, settlement and insurance, reiterating the 2017 ban .

The "new ban" made it clear that institutions should not accept virtual currencies, nor use them as a means of payment and settlement.

Banks and payment companies have also been urged to intensify the monitoring of cash flows involved in cryptocurrency trading and to coordinate more closely the identification of such risks.

The guidelines were made in a joint statement by the National Internet Finance Association of China, the China Banking Association and the Payment and Clearing Association of China.