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Original Chinese article here.

English article by Caixin.

Caixin is a trusted Chinese financial news source.

Ties to the 3/21/14 Sina.com FUD incident

In contrast to the 3/21/14 incident mentioned by OKCoin, this news was broken by Caixin not Sina.  More importantly, the original article has not yet been rescinded.  In the original rescinded Sina article that turned out not to be true, it was claimed that on 3/18/14 a document was released that would have banned Bitcoin transactions in China by 4/15/14.


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The PBOC took to Weibo to announce that:

“Regarding the PBOC statement issued on 3/18 requesting all bitcoin transactions to be halted before 4/15, those close to the regulatory body told Sina Finance on Friday, the PBOC did issue a document, but it was not to ban/halt bitcoin transactions, instead to strengthen regulatory oversight of bitcoin transactions, circulation and redemptions.”

As CNYes puts it,

但據財新記者確認,央行《通知》確有其事。只是當時消息傳播有誤,央行不是禁止比特幣平台交易,而是禁止銀行為比特幣交易平台提供開戶、支付、清算等服務。央行當日官方微博有烏龍之嫌,因為即使是央行內部,當時了解這份《通知》存在的人也十分有限。

However, according to Caixin reporters, the alleged “notice” has authenticity.  Simply put, the initial break of the news was hazy, the central bank  wasn’t pushing for a ban on Bitcoin, but rather to prohibit banks from providing Bitcoin Exchanges with accounts for payment, clearing, or other services.  The Central Bank’s official Weibo message is also hazy, because even within the central bank, those that initially understood the “notice” were limited.

 

Original Article

According to Caixin reporters, The Peoples’ Bank of China released a separate report to branches around the country in mid March.  The title of the report was this: 关于进一步加强比特币风险防范工作的通知, or the Notice on Further Strengthening Bitcoin Risk Prevention Measures.

This document requires all Chinese banks and third party payment processors to shut down all trading accounts associated with the listed 15 Chinese Bitcoin and Litecoin exchanges by April 15th.  In the meantime, the Chinese Bitcoin exchanges listed will still be able to withdraw cash from these accounts, but they will not be able to recharge them.

PBOC

The article was written by Caixin’s 张宇哲 and 李小晓 and has been spread on Yahoo, Sina, WantChinaTimes, and the majority of Chinese news outlets.   This bad news comes on the heels of the American IRS finally releasing Virtual Currency Guidance.  A double whammy, for those keeping track.

The Chinese reporters noted that this new document from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) brings the hammer down hard on Bitcoin Exchanges in the way that was hinted in the now infamous Notice No. 289 from 2013.  English translation provided by BTC China.  Before, Chinese exchanges found ways to get fiat into their exchanges with vouchers provided by some third party payment processors, now this is expressly illegal.  Also expressly illegal, is using the Bitcoin exchange’s CEO’s personal account to provide fiat services through the Chinese banks.

The article goes on to summarize the tumultuous history of Bitcoin in the Chinese observer’s eye.  From the run up in exchange rate largely attributed to Chinese exchange action in the last months of 2013 to the unceremonious shuttering of Bitcoin exchanges from Vircurex to Mt. Gox.  It will be interesting to see what new schemes and methods Chinese Bitcoiners come up with to circumvent their oppressive central bank.

The PBOC notice has not yet been made available to the public.  However, once it is you will undoubtedly find a good English translation of it up on BTC China’s website.

The People’s Bank of China document specifically lists 15 Bitcoin exchanges that must comply with this new ruling:

比特币中国(BTCChina)

Huobi

Okcoin

Fxbtc

比特币交易网

中国比特币

btc100

比特儿

808比特币

比特时代

牛币网

比特币国际

天和比特币

42btc

btc star

 

Editor’s Note: The legitimacy of the Chinese article is being questioned. OKCoin has posted on their Weibo this message:

融资融币的规模OKCoin尚未大量开通,风险规模尚在可控范围内。今天凤凰科技的新闻发布后,为 了防止类似3月21日假消息出来时的用户量暴增,我们已经加派了人手,用来应对可能出现的交易量暴增的情况。人民银行的网站里没有相关的新闻发布,谴责利 用重要媒体散步假消息的行径。OK将紧密关注。

In order to prevent users explosion like last time when fake news jumped out on 21 March, we have already deployed the manpower to deal with situations that arise. There is no related press release in the website of People’s Bank of China. We condemn the use of important acts of false news media for a walk. OK will pay close attention.

A smaller Chinese news site claims that BTCTRADE’s and Huobi’s CEOs both reported that they were just seeing this news as well and that they hadn’t heard anything about it.  BTC38 has taken directly to Reddit to report that they haven’t received a statement from the People’s Bank of China.

I just want to note that the document in question, the notice, allegedly went from PBOC to banks and 3rd party payment processors, not the Chinese exchanges, and not to the PBOC’s website either.

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Posted by Caleb Chen

Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He is currently pursuing his MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.