Information Office of Shanghai Municipality held a news conference on June 16 regarding the Lujiazui Forum. During the conference, Sun Hui, vice president of the PBOC Shanghai Head Office, said that no bitcoin trading regulations will be released in June.
On March 7, several bitcoin exchanges in Beijing joined in a discussion with the PBOC about the regulation draft details. Under the terms of the draft, bitcoin exchanges must have to complete know-your-customer system upgrade to comply with AML policies, including anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering data reporting system. However, there is no quantitative indicators in the draft and detailed implementation guidelines are expected to be issued when official regulatory requirements are released.
On May 12, Chinese media outlet Caixin reported that the PBOC is about to issue new regulatory guidelines for bitcoin exchanges covering anti-money laundering requirements and new management guidelines in June. But as of today, insiders at Huobi, Okcoin and BTCC say they have not received any of new regulatory documents. Besides, it’s reported that the PBOC would issue a disciplinary fine letter to the three exchanges.
2017 has been a bumping year to bitcoin in China. On January 1, 2017, the price of bitcoin surpassed the $1,000 mark for the first time in over three years. In the following months, the PBOC conducted on-site inspections of the exchanges, asked them to charge transaction fees and suspended bitcoin withdrawals. On June 1, the big three resumed bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals, which remains unknown if the PBOC has allowed them to do so.
Sun noted that the PBOC has never defined bitcoin as a “financial product”, but a “virtual commodity”.
On 2013 December, the PBOC and Five Associated Ministries jointly issued a notice on the prevention of risks associated with bitcoin, in which it defines the nature of bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is not issued by a central monetary authority, it does not possess characteristics of legal tender, and does not have real meaning as a currency. On the nature of Bitcoin, Bitcoin is a specially-designated virtual commodity or good, and does not have the same legal status as currency, and cannot be used as circulating currency in the market. However, Bitcoin trading constitutes a method of buying and selling commodities online, and ordinary people are free to participate, so long as they are willing to assume the risk.”
Meanwhile, Sun said that countries differ in their attitudes toward bitcoin based on their own national conditions.
“The PBOC has had its eye on bitcoin and investigated possible market manipulation, money laundering, and unauthorized financing activities. We will keep doing what we should do as a financial watchdog.”
As to the trends and focuses of bitcoin regulation, Sun claimed that there are no plans to tell.
“But the principle is that we will adopt applicable and appropriate regulations on bitcoin.”
Before, it’s widely spread that the strictest rules will be released on June 20 demanding domestic exchanges to suspend all digital currency transactions. The rumor has been clarified by bitcoin exchanges.