Litecoin creator Charlie Lee tweeted that Chinese bitcoin exchanges OKCoin and Huobi are meeting with regulators on Friday. Lee hinted that they will follow BTCC’s lead and suspend their trading platforms, potentially leaving Chinese traders without access to high-liquidity order-book exchanges.
OKCoin and Huobi told regional cryptocurrency news service cnLedger that they had not been contacted by regulators, but Lee–whose brother is BTCC CEO Bobby Lee–said that these two members of China’s “big three” bitcoin exchanges are meeting with regulators tomorrow and “might soon change their tune.”
If OKCoin and Huobi do suspend trading on their high-volume exchanges, they will join the Shanghai-based BTCC, which announced the September 30 suspension of its exchange this morning. In its announcement, BTCC cited the central bank’s ruling on initial coin offerings as the reason for its closure. However, an official Chinese news source reported that the Shanghai Office of Finance had “verbally halted” bitcoin exchanges from operating within the city.
A separate statement issued by a member of a self-regulatory agency established by the Chinese central bank cited an unnamed government regulatory who said it was “certain” that the government would ban all bitcoin exchanges within the next few months.
The markets plunged below $120 billion in response to the reports and BTCC announcement, with the global average bitcoin price dropping as far as $3,267, its lowest mark in more than a month. Lee’s creation has fared even worse. The litecoin price has dived nearly 21% in the past day alone; it is currently trading below $50 for the first time since August 23.
Nevertheless, Charlie Lee maintains that these tumultuous events will benefit the cryptocurrency community over the long term because rumors about a potential Chinese bitcoin exchange ban will no longer be able to throw the markets into turmoil.
“This is a good thing,” he wrote on Twitter. “China can no longer play with the markets by banning Bitcoin. Crypto-currency cannot be killed by any country.”
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