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Can I buy and sell bitcoins in China?

Yes, you can indeed buy and sell bitcoins – the open-source digital currency – within China, thanks to websites like huobi.com, okcoin.com and BTCChina, and apps such as BTCM, Bitcoin Ticker and BTCkan.

However, when it comes to spending bitcoins within China, it becomes more difficult. Chinese banks don’t recognize them as a type of currency, but simply regard them as a digital product.

Indeed, by government decree, no banks, financial institutions or payment services (such as Alipay) are allowed to deal with bitcoins in any way. The People’s Bank of China, the financial wing of the Chinese central government, rules that all the financial and payment institutions should:

  1. Not make bitcoins available as financial products or services,
  2. Trade bitcoins,
  3. Offer insurance on bitcoins,
  4. Supply any related services to customers making transactions using bitcoins, including bitcoin registration, trading, calculation and settlement; accepting or using bitcoins as an instrument of payment; allowing people to exchange bitcoins into yuan or any other currencies (or vice versa); deposit, trust or mortgage bitcoin businesses; issue bitcoin-related financial products or use it as an investment subject for trusts or funds.

This means that while you can’t transfer your bitcoins directly into yuan, you can sell bitcoins as digital products on bitcoin trade platforms for yuan first, then when the deal is concluded you can transfer the profits from the sale out of your trade platform account and onto your bank card.

Okcoin.com and BTCChina are both available in English; for an explanation of how to create an account for huobi.com, visit this page.


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