BTC China has become the world's first major bitcoin exchange to scrap its trading commission fees, albeit temporarily.
The company, which launched in June 2011, was charging 0.3% for all trades made on the site before taking the decision to run a promotion eliminating this fee.
"We already deliver an outstanding consumer experience, and with this promotion, we will now also offer superb value. The future is bright, for bitcoin in China," said Bobby Lee, CEO of BTC China.
He explained the promotion will continue to run over the Chinese National Day holiday, but could not confirm its end date.
The halting of trading commission fees follows the company's decision to scrap deposit fees in July, which Lee said was to encourage further bitcoin adoption in China.
"We think China can become a healthy market for bitcoin, so we want to take this opportunity to cement our position as the top exchange in China, and one of the top globally," he added.
|Mt. Gox||Between 0.6% and 0.25% depending on the amount||Japan|
|Bitstamp||Between 0.5% and 0.2% depending on the amount||Slovenia|
|BTC-e||0.2% on EUR transactions, 0.5% on USD and RUR transactions.||Bulgaria|
|CampBX||0.55% on every Quick Trade or Advanced Trade, 2% fee on Margin Trades||The US|
Fees currently charged by some of the world's top bitcoin exchanges
The rise of BTC China
BTC China was the country's first bitcoin exchange and Lee says he has seen many competitors come and go over the past two years. He puts his own company's success down to its long-term focus.
"From the beginning, we have put emphasis on security, high performance, and ease-of-use," he explained, adding:
"In China, we remain the leading exchange because of the market depth and huge liquidity in our market.
This all stems from our large customer base, the biggest in China. We have their trust, and we provide them with great customer service."
Lee said that, regardless of the fact the site only allows users to buy and sell in the native Chinese currency, it has been climbing the worldwide bitcoin exchange rankings. Currently, BTC China is ranked at number three in terms of the highest volume of bitcoin transactions processed, overtaking BTC-e.
Bitcoin regulation in China
Compared to other governments, China's has been very quiet on the subject of bitcoin, but Lee believes this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"The Chinese government has much bigger responsibilities and many more important things to attend to. As with all new technologies and developments in China, I think the government is taking a prudent approach; they are waiting a bit, and watching to see how it develops," he added.
Lee believes it is only a matter of time before bitcoin is regulated not only in China, but across the world and said his company is looking forward to working with the Chinese government to devise local regulation.
Lee thinks bitcoin has the opportunity to really take off in China and said the country already has a "healthy appetite" for it. "With a strong history and culture in savings, the Chinese people intuitively understand the fundamental properties of a limited-supply digital asset."
"For the first time in human history, bitcoin has allowed people to save and defer purchasing power, in a digital form. The Chinese people love this concept! It explains bitcoin's fast adoption in China this year – 2013 has been a breakout year for bitcoin, and even more so in China."
So far this year, according to data on SourceForge, China is only second to the US in terms of the volume of downloads of the original bitcoin client (Bitcoin-Qt). Some 248,105 downloads of Bitcoin-Qt have taken place in China, compared with 485,186 in the US and 103,548 in the UK.
Lee said bitcoins are being used differently in China than they are in the West. In his opinion, the western world seems to be putting a focus on bitcoin as a payment system, so merchant acceptance is used as a key metric for how bitcoin is succeeding.
In China, however, the digital currency's popularity is somewhat harder to measure as bitcoin is seen as more of an asset class and an investment vehicle that allows people to protect their money from inflation.
"That partially explains why trading of bitcoin has gone up in China over the past six months. We expect to see volumes to pick up over the coming months and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day bitcoin trading volume in [Chinese currency] RMB overtakes the volume traded in US dollars," Lee said.
He even thinks this could happen within the next year or so, resulting in the price per bitcoin being listed primarily in RMB on bitcoin charting and price sites (and perhaps even CoinDesk's own BPI).
Do you think this is likely to happen? Let us know in the comments.