- Matteo Giachetti Photography
- China banned bitcoin exchanges at the end of 2017.
- BTCC was one of the largest operators in the country and CEO said it had “a huge effect on revenues.”
- BTCC has now pivoted to bitcoin mining and a mobile wallet product.
LONDON – The CEO of one of China’s biggest bitcoin companies says Beijing’s decision to crackdown on bitcoin trading in the country lost his businesses tens of millions in revenue.
Founded in 2011, BTCC was the world’s oldest bitcoin exchange until it shuttered its exchange in September last year under pressure from Chinese authorities.
BTCC founder and CEO Bobby Lee told Business Insider: “We always knew it was a risk that the Chinese government would look unfavourably on bitcoin and put some strong rules around it.
“We were always running it with a sense of uncertainty, we were operating in a grey area. Finally last year, 2017, they made a final decision, which was to essentially shut down all exchanges. It was unfortunate but it was in the realm of our worst possibility.”
Asked about the financial impact, Lee said it cut off revenues in the tens of millions more or less overnight. China was one of the world’s most active bitcoin markets until the government crackdown.
“It has a huge effect on revenues so as a company we have to pivot,” Lee said. “We’re doing the mining pool and we’re also doing the Mobi wallet.”
The Mobi wallet is a digital wallet that lets people send crypto and fiat currencies to each other worldwide. Lee said the app has had over 100,000 downloads across over 180 countries.
BTCC’s headcount has declined since the government crackdown but Lee wouldn’t be drawn on specific numbers. The company currently employs around 100 people in Shanghai.
Lee also hinted the company may move some operations out of China, saying “come back in a few months or a few weeks” when asked.
Lee said BTCC is interested in raising money, saying: “We’re constantly working with investors on how to upgrade our company to the next level.”
Asked how much he was looking to raise, he said: “That’s not something I talk about in the press.”