Last week, Chinese business newspaper Caixin reported that the People’s Bank of China had plans to ban all banks and third-party financial systems from working with the country’s 15 bitcoin exchanges. The rumor sent bitcoin prices into a steep plunge, dropping to around $450. Today, those rumors have a bit more fuel. Chinese exchange BTC38 posted on its website today that it was halting all fiat-to-virtual currency transactions.
As CoinDesk reports:
Informal translations of the notice suggest that BTC38 has confirmed that the rumors are true, as it stated that it received the news from banks and third-party payment providers.
The timing of the announcement from BTC38 coincides with statements given by BTC China’s CEO Bobby Lee, who today told The Australian newspaper that China’s central bank appeared to be preparing to “enforce what was already said in the December document.” In December, the PBoC released a sternly worded statement declaring that banks could not work with bitcoin, although it was unclear of banks could still work with bitcoin exchanges.
It’s worth noting that China’s major exchanges — BTC China, OKCoin and Huobi — have yet to hear anything official from their own banks, and that the PBoC has yet to release any official confirmation of the still-rumored statement in the Caixin report.