The report says that account holders will be allowed to withdraw existing funds, but that no further deposits are to be allowed. Accounts for those companies that are still open after the April 15 deadline are to be frozen, the report claims.
Authorities in China have had wildly inconsistent positions on virtual currencies in recent months, and only last week Sina’s microblogging site reported that a rumored ban of bitcoin was in the works. This report shares many of the same details, including an April 15 deadline. The PBoC said last week that it did have plans in the works to create regulatory oversight for bitcoin, but that no ban was planned.
Almost immediately after the Sina report, representatives from Chinese exchanges began refuting the details of the story. OKCoin posted a response to the Twitter-like Weibo service (translation via Reddit):
In order to prevent panic (and large volume of trading) like the last time false news came out on 21 March, we have already set up enough resources to deal with situations like this when they arise. There is no related press release on the website of People’s Bank of China. We condemn the use of false news news used to cause panic. OKcoin will pay close attention to news about regulation.
Another Chinese exchange, Huobi, posted a similar statement.
In this report, the reporter claimed he called a person in charge of Huobi and BTCTrade CEO, both denied they have received any notice from PBOC. Currently, they are doing business as usual.
Should the report prove accurate, this could hint at deepening concern within China of a looming financial meltdown. A Reuters report yesterday noted the controversy around a three-bank run at the Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai over rumors of insolvency. Bank runs are virtually unheard of in China, but a recent bond default and a growing credit crunch have caused growing uncertainty about the health of the country’s financial system.