It looks like Chinese regulators’ long speculated-upon uptick in interest in bitcoin has started to happen. The nations’ three largest bitcoin exchanges will now begin charging a trading fee, effective this week. BTCC, Huobi and OkCoin have all separately stated that going forward they will charge traders a flat fee of 0.2 percent per transaction.
Each of the statements said assessing fees will “further curb market manipulation and extreme volatility.”
Previously, one of the draws of speed trading in China was the lack of trading fees — and it was a very signifigant draw. According to the blockchain analysts at Chainalysis, 42 percent of all bitcoin transactions were happening on Chinese exchanges as of June 2016. However, volume alone didn’t catch regulatory interest — there was also the big bitcoin price spike that started out the year. Strong bitcoin is not what Chinese regulatory authorities want to see, since the yuan opened the year at 25 year lows.
On Jan. 11, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) launched spot checks on BTCC, Huobi and OkCoin to look into a range of possible rule violations amid increasing government efforts to stem capital outflows and relieve pressure on the yuan. While the exchanges received no official guidance to add fees, it seems all three independantly concluded that perhaps it was a good time to cool down the exchanges some.
As of Monday morning, the price of bitcoin was down around 1 percent on the BTCC exchange to 6,317 yuan, equivalent to around $923.