The Chinese central bank’s crackdown on domestic bitcoin exchanges has claimed its first casualty.
Bitcoin company HaoBTC announced that it is shuttering its bitcoin exchange operation effective Feb. 15, while RMB deposits will close on Feb. 17. Any open orders by 14:00 local time on those dates will be canceled automatically, according to the company.
HaoBTC, a company known as a mining pool, started operating a bitcoin exchange in April 2016.
“Given the fact that the prospect of a regulatory policy for a bitcoin exchange isn’t clear yet and to ensure that the majority of users use our Wallet like always, after a reluctant deliberation, we have decided to remove the Exchange from our Wallet and to cease the RMB deposit,” the bitcoin company announced on its website.
HaoBTC was among the nine bitcoin exchanges called to a closed-door meeting by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). The company’s exchange may be among the smaller platforms in China’s bitcoin trading market, but it’s remains to be the first casualty of the central bank’s closer scrutiny on cryptocurrency operations since this year started.
The so-called “Big 3” exchanges—Huobi, OKCoin and BTC China—halted bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals while they undergo an upgrade to fight “money laundering, exchange, pyramid schemes and other illegal activities.”
Several weeks ago, the three bitcoin exchange operators started charging 0.2 percent trading fees per transaction to all their users after PBoC officials said they discovered the three were offering a loan feature, which the central bank said not only violates the country’s rules but also caused bitcoin’s volatility.
The PBoC recently warned Chinese digital currency exchanges to enforce anti-money laundering and foreign exchange regulations.
“If the exchanges violated the above requirements, and if the circumstances were serious, the inspection team may ask the relevant departments to close down the exchanges according to law,” the central bank said in a statement.
Current bitcoin price
Bitcoin traded at a higher $1,019 early Tuesday morning.