In statements posted on their websites Sunday night, Chinese Bitcoin exchanges BTCC, OKCoin, and Huobi announced that they will impose new trading fees to "curb speculation and prevent price volatility." The announcement of the new 0.2 percent charge on each transaction comes in the wake of recent meetings between the exchanges and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The new policy is scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday.
The central bank had launched what have been described as “spot checks” on all three exchanges on January 11, and were reportedly investigating potential rule violations. Though media reports on that investigation raised more questions than they answered – and there were apparently no formal actions of consequence taken by the PBOC after the investigation – the central bank's intervention has clearly had an impact.
BTCC, OKCoin, and Huobi all responded to those spot checks by ending the practice of issuing margin loans. In remarks last week, BTCC Chief Executive Bobby Lee noted that the three exchanges had also been considering a plan to implement trading fees, but he suggested that those fees might not happen without regulatory action.
According to a Reuters source said to be familiar with the situation, this most recent decision was not made in response to any directives from the central bank. Instead, the three exchanges collectively decided to impose the fees out of a desire to align themselves with the PBOC’s goal of reducing market volatility.
Given that most analysts agree that the now-defunct “no-fee” policies have helped to increase demand at those exchanges in the past, the cryptocurrency community can now only wait and see how the new policy impacts future trading volume and price.