In significant news coming out of China, China’s central bank – the People’s Bank of China – has revealed that it carried out on-site checks on major Chinese bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai.
Bitcoin’s soaring value and trading in China has evidently caught the eye of authorities who are now clamping down on capital outflows that they believe is taking place via bitcoin, while the yuan continues to depreciate.
In a public notice, the Shanghai branch of the PBOC revealed it carried out spot checks today (Wednesday) on BTC China.
A roughly translated statement reads:
The People’s Bank of China Shanghai HQ, the Shanghai Municipal Finance Office and other units formed a joint inspection team to carry out site inspections on Bitcoin China, focusing on checking whether it was operating beyond its business scope, whether it was engaging in unlicensed forex, payment, financing and other related businesses; whether it engaged in market manipulation; implementing anti-money laundering, financial security risks and so on.
A separate notice by the Beijing office of the PBOC issued a similar statement about its on-site inspection at Huobi and OKCoin.
In a public communication channel, a customer service representative from OKCoin has claimed that the on-site visits are a part of a week-long investigation by the authorities who are supposedly seeking to understand the bitcoin trading process.
A public message by BTCC on social platform Weibo has added that it continues to “strictly comply” with all relevant laws and regulatory requirements in the country, while adding that the exchange is operating normally. In its attempt to diffuse investors’ fears, BTCC also adds that it will make public any instructions or mandates set forth by the PBOC.
Speaking to Reuters, BTCC CEO Bobby Lee claimed that the “on-site checks”, as described by the PBOC, was nothing more than a “fruitful meeting”.
In quotes reported by the publication, he stated:
I wouldn’t call it an investigation. I think they are working closely with us to learn more about our business model and the bitcoin exchange industry. We had a very fruitful meeting today.
The official visits have sent bitcoin prices in a spiral, striking a low of $790 for the day. At the time of publishing, price on the Bitstamp Price Index is trading at $813.54. Having reached a high of $918.4 on the day, bitcoin has lost over 14% in value.
CCN is following the breaking story closely and will have more to report on.
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Image from Shutterstock. Chart from BitcoinWisdom.
Last modified: January 11, 2017 14:55 UTC