Bloomberg reports that this is indeed the case, apparently simultaneously with fresh guidance from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) requiring a curb of speculative trading in virtual currency. The five exchanges agreed to end margin trading and short selling.
BTC China CEO Bobby Lee confirmed beliefs that the exchanges, who have played cat and mouse with the PBOC over their Bitcoin dealing during the past few months, prefer to keep a low profile and this point and not draw the ire of the PBOC:
“We got together with a few exchanges and decided to coordinate some efforts in light of the perceived clampdown of the central bank…We’ve decided to stay more low-key and skip out of the conference this weekend.”
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An updated schedule distributed by organizers appears to no longer include speakers from the exchanges.
The exchanges’ withdrawal leaves a noticeable dent in the conference. Three of the exchanges- Huobi, BTC China and OKCoin- rank at or near the top in the world based on trading volume. They were in fact “Diamond” sponsors for the event, the top echelon among sponsor categories. The other two are BTC Trade and CHBTC.
Still, dark clouds lingering over the Bitcoin climate in China have not been enough to dissuade most other attendees. About 600 people are expected to attend the conference, 15% coming from outside China.
Bitcoin prices briefly dropped yesterday by about 3-4% before recouping the bulk of their losses. On Huobi, the intraday drop of 2559 CNY was in line with $411 reached on BTC-e. The latest has not been enough to rattle traders, though they should be cautious of the slow-moving decline back to the low $400’s over the past few weeks. The revoking of their ability to short sell may not have come at the most opportune time.