Things are not looking all that great for China’s largest Bitcoin exchange right now. The People’s Bank of China Shanghai team has announced the formation of a joint inspection team to investigate BTCC operations. Moreover, the goal is to determine whether or not there is any market manipulation going on, and if the company operated beyond the scope of their license. A rather unusual turn of events that could have catastrophic consequences for Bitcoin trading in China.
BTCC Scrutinized By PBOC Shanghai Officials
Not too long ago, the PBOC sat down with BTCC and the other main Chinese Bitcoin exchanges to discuss Bitcoin. At that time, it appeared nothing out of the ordinary was taking place, and the outcome of this conversation seemed amicable. Unfortunately, then saves taken a turn for the worse, as the PBOC’s Shanghai office plans to investigate BTCC operations in the coming days.
To be more precise, the PBOC, Shanghai Municipal Finance Office, and various others will launch this joint investigation on January 17, 2017. Site inspections will be carried out, with a strong focus on determining if BTCC is operating within the scope of its permitted operations. Additionally, there is a question as to whether or not the company is licensed to carry out credit, payment, and exchange operations in China.
Although BTCC owner Bobby Lee has always stated how his company took the necessary precaution to operate within the letter of the law, it appears the PBOC does not share that opinion. BTCC has an official license, making their operations perfectly acceptable. However, it seems the PBOC is mostly interested in potential market manipulation and “cooking the books.”
Additionally, this joint investigation will attempt to determine if and when possible money laundering efforts were facilitated by the BTCC exchange. Up until now, there has been no official claim or evidence regarding money laundering practices, and it appears this investigation is more of a “random” check up. All businesses dealing with finances need to be reviewed don a regular basis, and it appears Bitcoin exchanges will not be exempt in this regard.
If the PBOC had evidence to prove BTCC was doing something illegal, they would not issue this “warning” one week in advance. All signs point towards a routine inspection of the BTCC platform and their operations. China has not deemed Bitcoin to be a currency, yet this inspection may be the first step towards achieving that goal. For now, it remains to be seen what the investigation will turn up, though.
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