Update to the China Bitcoin saga

JISHOU, HUNAN — I talked to customer service at Huobi today, and it seems enabling deposits with my Chinese bank card is not easy as one would think — all because of the lack of a Chinese national ID number. So, they will refund my 500 RMB ($73) deposit in two to three days.

If Huobi’s coders don’t edit the backend to allow linking passport numbers to Chinese bank cards, I may be shut out of Huobi indefinitely. There’s really no point in using an exchange if you can’t, you know, exchange stuff.

Meanwhile, I sent an email to BTCChina’s support staff to inquire if I would have similar difficulties trading on their exchange. I’m waiting for their reply.

BTCChina has this message on their website now.

As with Huobi, I had already provided BTCChina with all that when I first opened the account a couple of years ago. Huobi required me to do it all over again, because the name issue I explained yesterday. I’m hoping I don’t have the same hassles with BTC China.

In the meantime, if I want to buy Bitcoin in China, I can still use LocalBitCoins.com or BitKan (a China-based P2P service). While these peer-to-peer services are almost as convenient as the big exchanges, their drawback is the premium traders tack onto their exchange rates, averaging 10% or more on top of the spot price. I can move money between China and the States with PayPal, paying only a 4% service fee for the exchange. So, losing access to the big exchanges would remove one motivation for using Bitcoin to move money across borders — saving on transaction fees (usually less than 2%).

Demand for P2P Bitcoin trading has been sky-high since the government required the major exchanges shut down Bitcoin withdrawals (thereby cutting off a path to move capital abroad) and institute more stringent KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) policies. It’s those new policies I’m dealing with now.

Like every other Bitcoin user in China, I’m in a “wait and see” mode, hoping that the government and the exchanges can work out the kinks in the new system.

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Hey, look! There’s that Bitcoin address again for tips. And the PayPal button, too. Feel free to use either!

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Also published on Medium.

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