By now you’ve probably seen reports that the Chinese government is prohibiting payment firms from accepting and using bitcoins. Emanating from a few, now deleted tweets on Weibo, whether or not firms in China are being notified of restrictions is up to debate, with many believing the news to be nothing more than a rumor. However, the reports do occur after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) notified financial institutions that it was barring them from being involved with bitcoin transactions. Therefore, while yet to be 100% authenticated that the PBOC was doing the same to payment processers, it wouldn’t be a reach based on their previous actions.
BTC China Warning
Providing additional verification that the story is in fact true, is news from BTC China. China and arguably the world’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, BTC China announced to customers that they are suspending CNY deposits. CNY withdrawals as well as BTC deposits/withdrawals will continue to be available. According to BTC China, the actions are due to new government regulations.
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As a result of yesterday’s rumor, and today’s news from BTC China, prices of bitcoins have cracked below $800, a level that they had seen some short term stabilization after falling back below $1000 at the end of November. Currently, prices are around the $500 level, with Bitstamp bidding $525 and MtGox at $540.
The biggest selling though is being seen in BTC China where prices in dollar terms have cracked the $500 barrier and are now around $440 in dollar terms (2660 yuan). The deep discount at BTC China represents that customers are willing to sell their bitcoins at below market levels in order to exit the market. The discount contrasts to a premium that took place as traders at BTC China led the market higher in late October and November.