The Friday reports of China planning to shut down local bitcoin exchanges have since been repeatedly backed up, though the authorities are yet to make the ban official. However, an interesting new wrinkle in this plan has emerged also.
According to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg, the ban on exchange-based cryptocurrency trades will not extend to over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.
Broker-based OTC trades are high-volume in nature typically, so the effect of the rumored ban would be to shut out regular Chinese bitcoins users, by making it impossible for them to buy or sell the virtual currency.
“Old users will definitely still trade, but the entry threshold for new users is very high now,” Zhou Shuoji, a partner at cryptocurrency investor FBG Capital, told Bloomberg.
According to sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Chinese people were using bitcoins to bet against the value of the yuan and move money outside the country, and the authorities decided to issue the ban because the bitcoin’s market was creating “too much disorder.”
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China’s role in the bitcoin ecosystem is particularly notable for the country’s major bitcoin-mining operations, but there are plenty of exchanges elsewhere.
The news of the impending exchange ban, which came soon after China banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), had an immediate effect on bitcoin’s price-within Friday, it knocked almost 8% off its value relative to the U.S. dollar, making one bitcoin’s worth around $4,270. Other cryptocurrencies, such as the ether currency that’s based on the Ethereum network, have taken a hit also.The slide since has been slower, though it is continuing. On Monday morning At the time of writing, a bitcoin is worth around $4,180. Little more than a full week ago, before China’s regulatory moves, the volatile cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $5,000. Bitcoin has had a good year, though-at the final end of 2016, it had only crossed the $1,000 threshold.