Bobby Lee, head of BTCC, closed the exchange's PRC offices in 2017 after Beijing clamped down on crypto-currency trading. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / RISE / Sportsfile.

A heavy-handed approach to crypto-currencies from Beijing has resulted in an exodus of blockchain and crypto startups to friendlier climes and with it the innovation that comes with any fledgling industry. The latest in this lengthening list is one of the world’s oldest Bitcoin exchanges.

BTCC, which closed down its PRC operations last year following Beijing’s crackdowns, has just announced plans to reopen its digital doors to offer a new revamped version of the trading platform that it first opened in 2011.

The official announcement last week stated that operations would start in June but since crypto trading is still banned in China, BTCC will be establishing itself in Hong Kong, which remains far more lenient towards the nascent industry.

On initial launch, the major digital assets will be listed such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, with plans to expand trading pairs according to customer demand. The exchange also plans to offer zero-commission trading for the first three months and a rewards referral system to bring back the clients it lost when its doors were closed in September last year following China’s crackdown.

The company reeled off a number of technological advances the new platform will be offering, such as offline cold storage, encrypted communications, and a multi-tier, multi-clustered system with an optimized, high-speed memory trading engine so, says the exchange, “you can make the trades you want on a cutting-edge system.”

Originally founded in 2011, BTCC is often said to be the oldest Bitcoin trading exchange, and boasts not just years of operational experience but a system that has never been compromised or hacked. It is considered one of China’s top three exchanges alongside OKCoin and Huobi, both of which have also relocated.

OKCoin’s trading platform OKEx is currently the world’s second largest crypto exchange by trade volume, with a daily total of $1.7 billion. It, like BTCC, closed down last September and relocated to Hong Kong to avoid the heavy hand of Chinese authorities. OKEx has further plans to join the world’s top exchange, Binance, and move to Malta, often dubbed ‘Blockchain Island’.

Huobi, now headquartered in Singapore, has rebranded as Huobi Pro and expanded into Japan and South Korea, two important crypto trading markets. The exchange also has plans to open offices in London to reach European markets. Chinese-owned crypto exchanges and blockchain companies have grand plans but at the moment very few of these involve China, which continues to lose out to its neighbors.

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