I managed to catch Bobby Lee, CEO of BTC China, on the phone yesterday to talk about Bitcoin’s situation in China.
What is the situation with the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) and Bitcoin in China?
The PBOC secretly ordered payment processors and banks to dissociate themselves from Bitcoin exchanges. There was nothing in writing, just pressure exerted on them. As the number 1 exchange in China, we are examining our options. There are many available.
Do you plan on moving BTC China abroad?
I cannot tell you what our next move is, but we are not ruling anything out.
You do not sound downbeat, why?
The PBOC stopped short of declaring Bitcoin illegal. There are workarounds and there is a healthy market, we are getting deposits via vouchers. I am cautiously optimistic about the future of Bitcoin in China. I hope Bitcoin has resonated strongly in the minds of the Chinese, the government objected to its surge and adoption.
Other exchanges have closed, as you predicted. Is this due to their lack of funds or to government pressure?
This business is in a phase of survival of the fittest. The closure of exchanges in China is due to government pressure. Investment activity and speculative activity have died down.
BTC China set up a lamassu last month, is this part of a strategy?
The one-way ATM is a one-off event that is not necessarily scalable.
Congratulations on your nomination as a member of the board of directors of the Bitcoin Foundation. What direction would you like the Foundation to take? What’s in it for you?
Thank you. I look forward to helping them on a global scale and to use my experience to contribute as an ambassador. I can speak on behalf of people in Asia and help get a more favorable regulatory and legislative environment. On the flip side, the Bitcoin Foundation could help in talks with the Chinese authorities.
It sounds like these are tough times for Bitcoin in China, wouldn’t you say so ?
This is business as usual for us.