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China cracks down hard on Bitcoin exchanges
12 September 2017, 12:40 | Lionel James
Bitcoin Price Takes a Tumble Amid Rumors of China Banning Cryptocurrency Trading
China's thriving cryptocurrency market has now begun to go underground as more and more individuals have opted to send virtual currencies to each other using private addresses.
This week's ban will reportedly apply to trading cryptocurrencies on exchanges, but won't stop over-the-counter transactions.
Since the beginning of this year, Chinese regulators have been investigating the country's domestic market for bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
BTC China, the second-largest exchange, has responded to the crackdown with its own statement. China accounts for about 23 per cent of bitcoin trades and is also home to numerous world's biggest bitcoin miners, who confirm transactions in the digital currency.
"Trading volume would definitely shrink", said Mr Zhou Shuojifounding partner at FBG Capital, which invests in cryptocurrencies.
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While bitcoin users will still be able to trade cryptocurrencies in China without exchanges, the process is likely to be slower and come with increased credit risk, analysts said. "Old users will definitely still trade, but the entry threshold for new users is now very high".
A notice from the Banking Regulatory Committee led by the People's Bank of China announced on September 4 an immediate ban on ICOs. With China being such a huge country, and one of the biggest Bitcoin miners in the world, it's no wonder that the price dropped significantly. Bitcoin's growing popularity in China may have caused the government to begin to perceive it as a threat to local currency, especially as Chinese investors bought up bitcoin and bet against the yuan past year.
"There has been a general tightening of the screw on regulating financial and monetary conditions", said Mark McFarland, chief economist at Union Bancaire Privee SA HK in Hong Kong.
Within a period of three days, bitcoin experienced two minor corrections, pulling back the upward momentum and strong rally it had maintained for a few weeks.
Leading bitcoin exchanges in China such as OKCoin, BTCC and Huobi have expressed their skepticism toward the initial report of a bitcoin exchange ban, because they have strictly complied with every request and regulation established by PBoC and local financial regulators.
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