Despite the imposition of a nationwide ban on cryptocurrency exchanges by the Chinese government, traders and investors in China are continuing to trade bitcoin exchanges and other cryptocurrencies in neighboring markets such as Hong Kong and Japan.
Earlier this week, South China Morning Post revealed that TideBit, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to expand bitcoin trading operations amidst rapidly rising demand toward bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading by Chinese traders. In an interview, Terence Tsang, chief operating officer at TideiSun, the parent company of TideBit, stated:
“The ban did not stop them [Chinese investors] from buying cryptocurrencies. In the last few weeks, we have seen a lot of mainland customers opening up accounts at TideBit. They still want to play the game. I see a growing need in that they will come to Hong Kong or Singapore to buy cryptocurrency,”
In the first week of September, the Chinese government, the People’s Bank of China, and local financial regulators officially requested Chinese bitcoin trading platforms including Huobi, OKCoin, and BTCC, which accounted for 10 to 13 percent of global bitcoin trades, to halt their services.
While the motive of the Chinese government remains unclear, its plans on restricting the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange market has not worked to its favor. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading volumes have migrated to over-the-counter (OTC) markets that are significantly harder to regulate and oversee. More importantly, local traders have moved to markets like Hong Kong and Japan, which have friendly and efficient regulatory frameworks for businesses and investors.
In the upcoming weeks, to address the growing demand toward bitcoin trading from Chinese traders, local exchanges including TideBit aim to aggressively expand their operations and offer new services such as derivatives trading. Vincent Poon, chief growth hacker at TideBit, noted:
“Right now it’s a trading platform to buy bitcoin and ethereum. We are planning to offer more financial products like futures and derivatives,. We also offer different products like payment solutions, wire transfers and different types of blockchain projects. We are not just a trading platform, we also have a blockchain ecosystem.”
Several reports released last month suggested that the Chinese government’s imposition of the nationwide ban on bitcoin exchanges is only temporary, and that the government will likely resume trading activities in November. One analyst emphasized that the re-election of Chinese President Xi Jinping, an avid advocate for free markets, could trigger the resumption of cryptocurrency trading. Long-time bitcoin investor Jon Creasy wrote:
“Historically speaking, President Xi Jinping has been one of the largest advocates of free markets China has seen in quite some time, and I expect this trend to continue. But for now, Mr. Xi must appeal to the people who keep him in power: the Communist Party. In my opinion, banning Bitcoin exchanges is nothing short of temporary glad-handing.”
At this juncture, it is difficult to predict the future of the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange market and bitcoin businesses. But, it is evident that the demand toward bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from Chinese traders has not decreased since the ban on local trading platforms.
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