BTC China Opens For Deposits Again With Incentives
Chinese Bitcoiners have much to celebrate apart from the Chinese New Year. One of the leading Bitcoin exchanges, BTC China, has once again started accepting deposits from customers and have thrown in some goodies to motivate existing, new and lost customers. It is a major victory for the Bitcoin community as Chinese authorities almost all but banned Bitcoin with its restrictions and warnings in December 2013.
Understandably there are many who will be skeptical. The Chinese government is not the most predictable and has seemed to be on na anti-Bitcoin drive of late. There is no telling if authorities will throw another curve ball to nip BTC China’s move in the bud. However, BTC China CEO, Bobby Lee, seems upbeat that this move is well within the legal avenues following the restriction imposed by the Chinese government last month.
BTC China Finds A Loophole
For those who have not been in the loop, the Chinese government banned banks and other financial institutions from partaking in any Bitcoin transactions or trading. A few days later it blocked third party payment providers from taking deposits on the behalf of Bitcoin exchanges. It essentially crippled exchanges from doing new business. This occurred in December 2012 and saw the Bitcoin price halve within days.
According to Lee, the restrictions were preventing banks from doing Bitcoin business itself but not the business clients of banks from doing so. BTC China is now accepting deposits for Bitcoin trading into its corporate bank account thereby bypassing third party payment providers and staying within the legal framework. Lee is confident that for now at least he is not breaking the law unless authorities impose more stricter policies.
Chinese Bitcoiners Wary
It is not surprising to find that Chinese consumers are not rushing to get back into Bitcoin trading. The upcoming holiday for the Chinese New Year is one factor as the festivities lasts for days and Bitcoin may not be on the minds of many. Lee reports that Bitcoin trading volumes in China have been low since December 2013. Not only did the government restrictions scare off many but a recent Bitcoin bashing documentary aired in China must have also did its share of damage.
The TV program aired on a government-backed channel showed the horror stories of those who were burnt by Bitcoin as a result of losing their life savings or businesses. It angered the local Bitcoin community who labeled it as biased. However, Lee is optimistic that BTC China can change the sentiment around. They have offered incentives to get customers back on the Bitcoin wagon.
Lee has to be commended for not backing down in his belief in Bitcoin amidst the onslaught from the Chinese government. The direct bank deposits option did not seem previously viable for BTC China. However, the restrictions got Lee looking at ways to get around the problem of deposits. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Hopefully Lee’s initiatives will not stir up innovation on part of the authorities who may possibly pass new legislation to plug up any holes in the system.