The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has reportedly sent a draft proposal to Chinese bitcoin exchanges detailing anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. One proposal outlined in the draft is an on-site verification for opening an account at an exchange. Meanwhile, withdrawals at these exchanges are unlikely to resume until AML rules have been clarified.
On-site In Person Verification for Opening Accounts
An article in the China Business Journal reportedly claims that the PBOC has sent a 4-page draft proposal to Chinese bitcoin exchanges. The bank is asking them if the requirements outlined in its proposal, including one involving a mandatory in-person verification, are feasible.
An exchange insider, Lu, told the Chinese publication that one of the items listed is the requirement for all new users to go through on-site verification before they can open an account. Bitcoin.com previously reported on the PBOC potentially requiring on-site verification in order to deposit or withdraw 50,000 yuan when using a Chinese bitcoin trading platform, but doing so to open an account was not mentioned.
Lu commented that this requirement is not feasible and does not follow the trends of the internet, citing that even stock market trading accounts allow remote video verification.
Withdrawals Unlikely to Resume Until AML Rules Are Clear
Lu also said that the PBOC has a different concept of what AML means than bitcoin exchanges do. He added that the exchanges have been implementing AML measures all along, but the PBOC thinks otherwise. With this new draft, both the PBOC and the exchanges should have the same set of standards in mind, Lu hopes. “In short, all they are doing is making sure there are no loopholes. Taking preventive measures, blocking potential possibilities and minimizing risks”, he noted.
In early February, three major Chinese exchanges suspended bitcoin withdrawals, supposedly for one month, following the PBOC’s inspections of nine smaller bitcoin exchanges earlier that week. The major exchanges announced at the time that they would be upgrading their AML systems in accordance with laws and regulations. Their estimated time to completion for the upgrades was one month.
However, on March 8, Bitcoin.com reported that all three major Chinese bitcoin exchanges have postponed the return of withdrawals. They announced at the time that “once approved by the regulating departments, we will resume bitcoin withdrawal services”.
Recently, BTCC has completed its know-your-customer (KYC) system upgrade to comply with AML policies. A notice posted on Btcchina.com states that four pieces of identity information are now required. They are; full name, national ID number, bank card number and mobile phone number. These requirements must be met for depositing and withdrawing funds. Furthermore, the notice states that:
BTC and LTC withdrawals are still on hold until further notice.
Lu expressed that the exchanges cannot resume withdrawals until the AML rules are clear, stating that “the standards are not yet fully implemented. So exchanges don’t dare to resume it”.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, PBOC, and BTCC