Two of China’s “Big Three” exchanges have decided to cease all trading services for local customers.
In twin statements issued over the weekend, OKCoin and Huobi announced that they will halt yuan deposits starting September 15, although the exchanges will still continue to offer cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trading services—for now.
OKCoin and Huobi will gradually wrap up their yuan-denominated markets, a process that they hope will be completed by October 31. According to the two exchanges, definitive information about the trading suspension will be sent to users before September 30.
BTC China was the first member of the so-called “Big Three” to announce that it will cease its China-facing trading operations by the end of September. The Shenzen-based company’s announcement sparked another slide in the price of the cryptocurrency, which already dropped to below $3,800 following JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s tirade against the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has since recovered, and is currently trading at $3,900 level, while Bitcoin Cash is holding at $462.
The Big Three’s announcements come following reports that Shanghai authorities have issued a verbal order to Bitcoin exchanges based in the city to stop their operations. Other exchanges have followed suit.
ViaBTC said it will halt registration, asset deposits and all trading pairs on September 25 before the website closes on September 30, but the company’s mining pool and cloud mining services will continue to operate. Yunbi announced in Chinese that it will close up shop on September 20.
Despite the government clampdown, it appears that the interest in Bitcoin has yet to die down—although traders are leaving China and its unpredictable government in favor of Japanese Bitcoin exchanges.
According to data from CryptoCompare, Japan now accounts for over 50% of all Bitcoin trades. This is due to Chinese traders’ abrupt migration to Japan, leaving the Chinese market with only 6.4% of global Bitcoin trades.
Experts believe China’s decision to shut down domestic exchanges will have lasting impact on the global exchange market, although the mainland government’s move could become a boon to the cryptocurrency.
Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin, tweeted that the clampdown “is a good thing” because it means that “China can no longer play with the markets by banning Bitcoin,” which it had done since 2013.
“Cryptocurrency cannot be killed by any country. One solution to centralized exchanges is decentralized ones,” Lee said.
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