Major Chinese exchange BTCChina has announced the suspension of bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals. In effect, all of China’s ‘big 3’ bitcoin exchanges have now enforced a month-long suspension of cryptocurrency withdrawals.
The suspension will last until March 15th as the exchange underlines the move as a compliance measure after the central bank’s crackdown against bitcoin exchanges in the country continues.
In an announcement on its homepage, the bitcoin exchange underlines the same reasons offered by the two other major exchanges in OkCoin and Huobi, both of whom suspended withdrawals a week ago. BTCChina says it is upgrading its customer verification system in adherence to the anti-money laundering norms enforced by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) upon the bitcoin trading industry. BTCChina adds that the suspension will be lifted if the system upgrade is completed before the 30-day period.
When reached for comment, BTCChina shared its customer circular to offer more details of the suspension.
BTCChina will continue upgrading its inspection and verification system for bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals to aggressively guard against money laundering, illegal money exchange, pyramid schemes, and other illegal activity. As a result, bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals will be suspended from February 15th until March 15th.
“Bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals will be resumed as soon as industry standards are settled and the inspection and verification system has been upgraded,” the statement added.
The suspension does not impact yuan deposits or withdrawals. For quicker withdrawals, the exchange suggests users convert their cryptocurrencies into fiat before withdrawing in yuan.
It has been over a month since the PBoC began investigating bitcoin exchanges in the country. A number of changes have ensued, including bringing an end to zero-trading fees and margin trading. Trading activity and bitcoin price has notably been impacted. Tellingly, bitcoin trading in peer-to-peer marketplaces like LocalBitcoins, away from centralized bitcoin exchanges susceptible to authorities throwing their clout, have shown record numbers. A total of ¥6.6 million yuan was traded last week on LocalBitcoins in the aftermath of two of the three big Chinese exchanges freezing withdrawals.
Unlike last week’s drastic drop, bitcoin traders seem to have shrugged off the news, with little to no impact on bitcoin price. At the time of publishing, bitcoin is trading to the dollar at $1,022 on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI).
Data from BTC/CNY charts out of BTCChina also reveals stable trading with minimal impact.