China runs checks on Bitcoin exchanges

Country's central bank carries out inspection on major Bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai, triggering a dip in the digital currency's value.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

The People's Bank of China has carried out spot checks on major Bitcoin exchanges in Shanghai and Beijing, triggering a dip in the digital currency amid fears of a crackdown.

The country's central bank said its inspections of BTCC, Huobi, and OKCoin were conducted to identify any potential regulatory breach such as market manipulation, money laundering, and unauthorised financing. According to a Reuters report, the regulator did not reveal if it uncovered any violation.

The news triggered a more than 12 percent dip in the price of Bitcoin against the US dollar, the report said, which noted that the Chinese government had been looking to curb capital outflows and slow the yuan's depreciation.

Trading at around US$910 early-Wednesday, the currency was valued at about US$759 late-Thursday. Its current circulation totalled just over 16 million.

The Chinese central bank's Beijing office said in a statement that its officers ran "spot checks" at OKCoin and Huobi to assess how the exchanges implemented policies that included forex management and anti-money laundering.

In a separate announcement, its Shanghai unit said its officers visited BTCC to check on the exchange's operations and assess if it functioned within regulatory policies on financing, forex business, and anti-money laundering, among others.

Bitcoin's value last year climbed 125 percent, becoming the best-performing currency globally against other currencies issued by central banks.

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