Speaking with CoinDesk, the CEOs of major Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin discussed their plans for keeping the still-small bitcoin industry alive in a country with an increasingly hostile central bank.
OKCoin’s Star Xu was surprisingly optimistic about virtual currency’s future in the country. Viewing the situation as not unexpected for an international financial startup in China. While the PBoC’s policies will “bring a period of hardship” in the near future, Xu suspect that the government’s attitude will thaw in coming years as bitcoin’s influence grows globally.
Xu also commented briefly on OKCoin’s proposal to license its technology to would-be Mt.Gox rehabilitators Sunlot Holdings, saying that the process is “very complicated and hard work. It needs maybe one or two years.”
Huobi CEO Leon Li also shares Xu’s optimism, claiming that both bitcoin mining and bitcoin trading are still flourishing in the country in spite of the unofficial ban.
As for the near future in the wake of new central bank restrictions, Huobi said it had a two-stage plan to continue business. Huobi’s plan is to remove itself as much as possible from the banking system, transitioning into a peer-to-peer trading network, much like LocalBitcoins. Li also hinted that Huobi was investigating “oversees opportunities,” although he declined to give specifics. Given bitcoin’s less-restricted status in China-governed Hong Kong, as well as increasingly favorable conditions across Asia, Huobi might well be preparing to take a more regional role in the bitcoin trade.