Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges BTC China And OKCoin Start Accepting USD

Journalist:
July 21, 2014

Two Chinese Bitcoin exchanges, BTC China and OKCoin, have recently announced new international trading features. Earlier today, in a selfpost to Reddit, BTC China revealed their newest features: Withdrawals and deposits in both USD and HKD. Just a few days ago, fellow Chinese Bitcoin exchange, OKCoin, also announced the launch of English-language service in the form of a new website and USD deposits and withdrawals. Bitcoiners around the world will now have two new options for their Bitcoin trading. It seems that Chinese Bitcoin exchanges are now comfortable enough in their position within China to start international expansion.

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BTC China’s CEO, Bobby Lee, had this to say about his company’s international expansion.

“As a global company, BTC China is pleased to accommodate the demands of our users, both domestic and international,”

OKCoin’s Changpeng Zhao revealed the information at the North American Bitcoin Conference, which was held in Chicago over the weekend.

Zhao told CoinDesk,

“The international site will be skewed very heavily to international users in the user experience. The customer credibility – we need to establish that over time, but I think that’s going to come in a superior product.”

He also revealed that OKCoin is not immediately going to apply for money transmission licenses from the American government. Though Bitcoin exchanges around the world, Chinese or not, have launched USD trading, that doesn’t mean that they are specifically targeting American customers. In contrast to Shanghai-based BTC China, OKCoin is based out of Beijing. Both exchanges have led China’s Bitcoin community in adapting to ever-clarifying People’s Bank of China (PBOC) regulations and whims.

Differences Between OKCoin and BTC China

One of the most blatant differences between OKCoin and BTC China is none other than OKCoin’s 0% trading fee; however, their respective international expansion plans differ a bit, as well. OKCoin is launching two separate sites, OKCoin.cn (Chinese) and OKCoin.com (English), one for each of their target user groups. Currently, only the Chinese website is up; however, OKCoin’s English website, which was originally hinted at months ago, will soon be fully functional. OKCoin has also launched algorithmic trading, investment funds, and P2P lending services, earlier this summer. BTC China, on the other hand, had previously focused energy towards the development of their Picaso web app, which promotes P2P trading. BTC China’s exchange won’t be separating into two distinct sites, like OKCoin. Instead, BTC China customers are able to apply for a domestic or an international account. Withdrawals and deposits in USD and HKD are available for international accounts only, and trading will still occur in BTC/CNY and LTC/CNY, instead of on their own orderbook.

Are Things Looking Up For Bitcoin In China?

Chinese politics is a mired and complex system with nuanced history and a feverish adherence to the status quo. Starting in December, 2013, the PBOC started taking progressively harsher stances and actions against Chinese Bitcoin companies and Chinese companies providing financial services for Chinese Bitcoin companies. As a result, many banks stopped working with Chinese Bitcoin exchanges, and Chinese Bitcoin exchanges even backed out of attending the Chinese Bitcoin Summit. Despite the rocky path, OKCoin has raised $10 million USD from various investors while BTC China has raised $5 million USD over the last year. Even the demand for secure and offline cold storage hardware wallets has been answered by a Chinese company, Hardbit. In the last few months, the PBOC has said nothing officially about Bitcoin. However, a PBOC official has been speaking loudly at conferences on the promise of the Internet, which (to him) explicitly includes Bitcoin. While this is far from a reversal of the PBOC’s stated intention of “cutting off all funding to Bitcoin trading,” the seemingly contradictory opinions at different levels of government is typical in China. Innovation is always occurring in China, often in direct contradiction to the government’s (party’s) stated wishes.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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.