China's largest bitcoin exchanges are awaiting clarification from the government following more media reports that Beijing is planning to ban trading of virtual currencies on domestic exchanges, but markets were largely subdued on Monday.
Spokeswomen for the OkCoin and Huobi platforms told Reuters they had no information to share following a report by Chinese financial publication Caixin that sent the price of bitcoin down 6.6 percent on Friday.
A source with knowledge of the policy confirmed to Reuters that China planned to ban exchanges that allowed virtual currency trading. BTC China, also one of China's three largest exchanges, and China's central bank did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
Bitcoin was trading lower by around 1.3 percent at $4,170 on the Bitstamp platform on Monday. On Sept 2, it hit a record high of nearly $5,000.
“People are still waiting for official word from the regulator,” said Arthur Hayes, chief executive of crypto-currency trading platform BitMEX, adding that the relatively subdued fall in the bitcoin price illustrated how opinion in the community towards the Caixin article was divided.
“I would assume that if China shuts down trading on continuous order books of the large exchanges, the price would drop below $4,000, or the price of the US dollar price of bitcoin would catch up to where it's trading equivalently in China,” he said.
China has boomed as a cryptocurrency trading venue in recent years as its domestic exchanges had previously allowed users to conduct trades for free, attracting investors and speculators who boosted demand and encouraging volumes.