Chinese bitcoin exchanges sent a shockwave through the cryptocurrency community once again. After a meeting between 9 exchanges and the PBOC, it was decided some platforms will need to step up their AML security measures. Unfortunately, this is affecting some users of the OKCoin, Huobi, and CHBTC platforms, although the consequences are far less severe than most people anticipate right now.
The Current Chinese Bitcoin Exchange Situation
It is evident the meeting between the PBOC and Chinese bitcoin exchange operators created an intriguing scenario for cryptocurrency in the country. Three of the country’s largest exchanges have suspended bitcoin withdrawals by up to one month. That is quite a significant problem for a lot of people, even though this only seems to affect the .cn domain names of said exchanges. For example. okcoin.cn is suffering from withdrawal suspension, whereas okcoin.com seems to be doing just fine.
Interestingly enough, the situation is somewhat different from all other Chinese bitcoin exchanges. BTCC is actively delaying withdrawals by up to 72 hours right now, which is not overly troublesome. It is rather annoying for Chinese traders and speculators, yet it is another reason for people never to store funds on a bitcoin exchange longer than necessary. Do keep in mind this only affects BTC withdrawals, as fiat currency transfers are not affected by these AML changes.
BTCTrade, another one of the top Chinese bitcoin exchanges, has strengthened its withdrawal review process. Yunbi has done the same, although it remains unclear how much this affects withdrawal requests in the first place. It seems obvious Chinese cryptocurrency enthusiasts are experiencing some mild annoyance from the involvement by the PBOC, yet the central bank continues to put in a lot of work to regulate bitcoin in a positive manner. Unfortunately, one cannot regulate cryptocurrency trading activity without ruffling some feathers here and there.
So far, HaoBTC is the only somewhat big Chinese bitcoin exchange not affected by any of these requirements. HaoBTC seems to have been spending a lot of time and money on ensuring they are fully compliant with AML and CFT requirements in the past. Other exchanges dealing with CNY trading pairs are seemingly unaffected by these new requirements, which is a positive development. Then again, this situation may come to change over the coming days or weeks. Checkout this helpful chart by @cnLedger:
— cnLedger [Not giving away ETH] (@cnLedger) February 10, 2017
Some bitcoin community members see this latest move by the PBOC as another way of China manipulating the bitcoin price. Considering the market was on track to set a new all-time high bitcoin price yesterday morning, the news came in at a time during which traders were seemingly willing to push the bitcoin price up even more. In the course of a few hours, bitcoin’s value dropped by quite a bit and is still trying to recover from this debacle.
For the time being, the important thing to remember is how these new AML requirements only affect .cn domain names of the platforms in question. It would appear Chinese traders are able to withdraw bitcoin by using okcoin.com and huobi.com without any issue. It is unclear if this is intentional, or an issue that will be rectified in the near future, though. The panic that ensued in the bitcoin market yesterday is seemingly unjustified, albeit understandable.
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