Officials from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) met with representatives of major bitcoin exchanges Huobi, OKCoin and BTCC to urge their compliance with “relevant laws and regulations.
On the evening of Friday, January 6 in China, the PBOC offices in Beijing and Shanghai both issued statements on the meetings, noting that the “recent bitcoin price is highly volatile” and that the bank encourages the exchanges to “operate strictly in accordance with the laws and regulations of China and to conduct self-examination based on related laws and correct any possible irregularities.”
“Bitcoin is a specific virtual goods, does not have the same legal status with the currency, can not and should not be used as money in the market circulation. Participating institutions and individuals should carefully engage in activities such as bitcoin investment and bear the corresponding responsibilities and risks”, the bank said.
Huobi, OKCoin and BTCC account for 90 percent of bitcoin’s global trading volume and saw prices near historical highs in the past 36 hours before they fell dramatically.
The PBOC has been meeting with exchanges on a semi-regular basis in recent months. However, the timing of these meetings and the nature of the statements suggest that they were a direct result of recent dramatic price movement.