Bitcoin’s biggest exchange in China – BTC China – has begun discussions with the authorities over regulation of the crypto currency. It hopes more recognition will allow bitcoins to be used to buy goods and services in the country.
BTC China is trying to promote bitcoins in a nation of savers, and has had low-level discussions with regulators, including the People’s Bank of China, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Bloomberg quotes BTC China Chief Executive Officer Bobby Lee as saying.
Bitcoin is “not on the black list and it’s not on the white list. It’s in the gray area,” Lee said commenting on talks that the virtual currency is strongly connected with illegal trading.
The anonymous virtual currency has been booming, its value having gone up 80–fold in a year to a new record above $1000 per unit.
The growth comes despite concerns that regulators may ban trading in the currency, after some bitcoin exchanges were shut down. However, these fears eased after Deputy Central Bank Governor Yi Gang said the Chinese were free to trade bitcoins.
In late October an online trading platform GBL that attracted about 1,000 Chinese investors was shut down.
The normal “life expectancy” of a bitcoin exchange averages 380 days and about half of such exchanges close within a year of their opening, Lee explained.
Last month the US Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said the digital currency was a “legal means of exchange.”