The Chinese government has been strengthening requirements for citizens by converting their yuan. With Trump coming into office, China fears that lower values for the yuan will turn into a trade war even if the government is not actively trying to depreciate the yuan for trade. Conversions of yuan are already subject to a quota or currency controls in an effort to curb capital outflows.
Bitcoin has been the escape method for capital fleeing China. China’s major bitcoin exchanges halted or otherwise updated their bitcoin trading services. The changes to bitcoin are being made in response to interactions with the People’s Bank of China. The People’s Bank of China delivered “informal guidance” that is beginning to take notice of the capital flight through bitcoin exchanges. The central bank called in the big exchanges for a discussion.
Bitcoin is not being shut down, but there is concern that the capital flight must be stopped. BTCC is the only exchange to explain the changes in a message posted to its website: “BTCC will [suspend loans and borrowing services] from 12th January, 2017.”
Effectively, loan-based trading services were no longer available using bitcoin. The news spread quickly about the changes on social media. Margin trading services had always been in the grey area given the longstanding lack of legal clarity that allowed the exchanged to blossom. The additional liquidity for bitcoin that came from China will begin to decline. There is little doubt that the Chinese bitcoin market will see a new engagement with regulators moving forward.