Bitcoin Middleman: Wanna Trade with Me, Please Cross the Great Firewall
As cryptocurrency exchanges seem to remain closed in a prolonged period, both token holders and service providers are looking for over-the-counter options.
Some innovative cryptocurrency holders trade on Xianyu, a second-hand trading platform of Alibaba. And Internet platforms and ICO projects are creating Telegram groups in efforts of escaping supervision. But for those who are more sensitive, they choose to keep a low profile and refuse to do any trades now.
Zhao Dong, or Zhao Letian, is a well-known bitcoin OTC trader in the Chinese community. He posted on Sept 26 that:
“To avoid unnecessary troubles, I will stop trading BTC with anyone through any domestic social media channels such as WeChat, QQ and Weibo. If you want to trade with me, please cross the Great Firewall.”
Meanwhile, Zhao changed his personal introduction on Weibo profile from “a professional bitcoin two-way merchant” (bitcoin middleman) to “creator of Dcash”. Some laughed at him saying he is overreacting about current regulations. Is he?
On Sept 11, a financial journalist pretended to be a bitcoin newbie and consulted Zhao some questions about shutting down exchanges. Zhao replied that cryptocurrencies will definitely be shut down, but they could seek OTC options.
And on Sept 13, the journalist wrote a story about bitcoin OTC trading and disclosed her chat records with Zhao. The story reads that “Zhao Dong is a representative figure in the OTC market and he could sell 1000 BTC on a single day.”
The story goes on saying that :
“It is said that in the bitcoin community, no matter you are a bitcoin newbie or a bitcoin hodler, if you never heard of the name of Zhao Dong, you would feel embarrassed to call yourself a bitcoiner.”
And the article concluded that “methods should be taken to prevent 30-billion-yuan worth of Bitcoin flow into the untraceable OTC market.”
Industrial players see it as a signal that OTC trading is not welcomed by Chinese regulatory authorities. Some even believe that media are trying to influence public opinion and form the basis for possible arrest.
In the following days, there are an increasing number of photoshopped pictures spreading rumors that Zhao and Li Xiaolai would be arrested.
Some newly-registered Weibo accounts insist that these two persons are restrained from leaving China.
Zhao Dong forwarded such post on Sept 22 and claimed that this is bullshit. But he deleted some old posts about regulators and shutting down exchanges.
Instead of deleting posts, Li Xiaolai posts updates more frequently and he wrote an apology letter saying he has overvalued his ability to set a good role model for investors.
No one is sure that anyone might be arrested before or after the 19th NPC. But it is surely a wise move to remain cautious with your words.