Agricultural Bank Of China Notifies BtcTrade That They Need To Halt RMB “Recharges” By April 15th

Journalist:
April 10, 2014

The Agricultural Bank of China, one of the Big Four Chinese Banks, has begun notifying its Bitcoin Exchange clients of upcoming changes to policy.  The other 3 “Big Four” banks in China are: The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Bank of China.  By market capitalization, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest bank in the entire world, according to Relbanks 2013 statistics on largest banks in the world.  The Agricultural Bank of China is the 6th largest bank in the world by the same measure, outstripping all American Banks besides Wells Fargo and Chase.

Today, BtcTrade and Huobi join OKCoin, FXBTC, and BTC38 in announcing an end to their acceptance of Chinese RMB deposits via bank card recharge.  It is worth re-mentioning that Bitcoin is not banned in China.  China has merely forced Chinese Bitcoin exchanges to operate outside of Chinese banks, fiscally.  China wants to limit the amount of Bitcoins that can be bought by Chinese citizens to a measly $50,000 USD worth annually, thus limiting capital flight by that method.

Image from banktrack.

Today, BtcTrade.com released an announcement on their website titled:

关于BtcTrade于4月15日暂停银行卡充值业务的公告

Announcement About the BtcTrade halting of Bank Card Recharges on 4/15.

Bank Card Recharges are the popular way for Chinese RMB to make its way into Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges’ bank accounts.  This particular method of RMB “Recharges” or deposits is what is supposedly being choked off by the rumored new PBOC notice: Notice on Further Strengthening Bitcoin Risk Prevention Measures.

The translated text of BtcTrade’s announcement is provided below:

尊敬的BtcTrade用户及广大比特币爱好者:
我们抱着很沉重的心情发布这个公告,BtcTrade刚接收到公司开户行中国农业银行杭州科技城支行的电话通知,要求我司于4月15日停止使用公司帐户进行比特币相关业务的结算,如逾期未停止,将于4月15日冻结公司的银行帐户。在此,BtcTrade不得不决定于2014年4月15日0点后停止处理人民币充值业务,交易提现暂不受影响。
BtcTrade自上线之初就定位于全球市场,我们已经在中国大陆、中国香港、日本、美国等地进行公司注册。近期BtcTrade将开通美元业务,同时日文站现已上线运营,新版也将于4月15日前上线。短期内我们将会通过公布冷钱包地址,进行100%保证金公开,确保平台不参与任何交易,充分保证用户资金安全,请大家监督。
我们是一支简单的团队,在正式运营的这一年中我们一直用心的为大家搭建一个简单、方便、安全的交易平台,不参与任何的交易、没有上线杠杆、做空机制及其它附加业务,团队成员只是希望通过自己的努力一点点的去推动比特币的进程。我们想说:路过疯狂,继续远方,我们坚信BtcTrade的未来是美好的,比特币的未来不可估量!

Dear BtcTrade users and the greater Bitcoin community:

I write this announcement with a heavy heart, BtcTrade just received a phone call from the HangZhou Science and Technology City Branch of the Agricultural Bank of China requiring that I stop using company accounts to clear Bitcoin trades.  If we are late in stopping,  they will freeze the company’s bank account on April 15th.  As such, at BtcTrade we have no choice but to stop RMB recharges starting 4/15 at 0:00; trading is not affected.

Since the beginning, BtcTrade has set out to face the international market.  We have already registered as companies in mainland China, Chinese Hong Kong, Japan, and also the United States.  Very soon, we will open USD trading; simultaneously, we will open our Japanese website.  The new version will be online by April 15th. During the move, we will announce our cold storage address and guarantee 100% transparency.  To ensure that the platform doesn’t participate in any trade and that user funds are completely secure, we invite you all to please monitor us.

We are a persistent and simple team, in the first year of our formal operation we have been hard at work to build a simple, convenient, yet secure trading platform.  We don’t trade on our platform, we don’t offer leverage, shorting, or other services like that.  Out team members do what they can to facilitate the development and spread of Bitcoin.  We firmly believe that BtcTrade still has a bright future, and Bitcoin’s future will be immeasurable!

Also In China

Huobi, a larger Chinese Bitcoin Exchange than BtcTrade, has also published an announcement today (4/10/14) regarding new notification from their bank: The Industrial and Commerical Bank of China (ICBC).  In the announcement, which will be translated later, Huobi revealed that the Zhongguancun branch of the ICBC contacted them to stop using their account.  The Zhongguancun branch of ICBC revealed that they received oral notice from their higher ups that Huobi’s account was to be closed.  The people that Huobi talked to had not seen a written notice, and they speculated that different branches might be interpreting in different ways.

Regardless, Huobi is also no longer going to be using ICBC as their company bank account.  They were also adamant in assuring their users that all funds, Bitcoin and fiat, are 100% safe.  In fact, Huobi has stated explicitly that all withdrawals are not affected at all by this news.

In Another Part Of The World…

The 15th largest bank in the world, the National Australia Bank (NAB), also announced that they were closing off accounts of Bitcoin related businesses.  This is a shock to many Bitcoin services based out of Australia, namely Coinjar, given that NAB was previously one of the most pro-Bitcoin banks in the entire world.  In a blogpost, Coinjar revealed that due to strategic policy shifts by the NAB, the banking relationship between Coinjar and NAB would have to come to an end.  They reassured customers that all fiat balances on Coinjar were 100% secure and safe, and made their opinion known:

We’re disappointed with NAB’s decision – as it affects many companies in Australia – but are grateful for the service they’ve provided us to this point and how they’ve handled delivering the news.

Last modified (UTC): April 10, 2014 09:46

Caleb Chen @bitxbitxbitcoin

Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He is currently pursuing his MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.