Crypto OG Bobby Lee Says China’s OTC Desks Are Next to Go

Crypto exchanges in China have already shut down and over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks are likely to follow suit, Lee predicted Monday.

AccessTimeIconSep 27, 2021 at 3:47 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
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Over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks in China are on their way out as the country cracks down on cryptocurrency activities, a veteran of the local crypto scene predicted.

“I think OTC platforms that are operated from the big exchanges will close down,” said Bobby Lee, founder and CEO of the Ballet wallet service and former head of BTCC, once one of the biggest bitcoin exchanges in China.

“They will stop offering their services to Chinese mainland users,” Lee said in an appearance on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” Monday. “There are still OTC users making transactions but I think that will just taper off.”

OTC desks, which facilitate trades on a peer-to-peer basis, are a popular way for investors in China to buy and sell crypto, and may soon be the only way. Huobi, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, suspended service to Chinese users over the weekend after Beijing’s latest crackdown on crypto mining and trading last week.

Lee further predicted crypto and digital assets will become “foreign assets,” similar to real estate.

“I think bitcoin will become that kind of asset where you can’t sell that foreign property within mainland China. But if one day you were to travel to that country … you can then take care of buying or selling these foreign assets, but while inside mainland China, you won’t be able to do that,” Lee said.

Earlier this week, the People’s Bank of China banned any crypto-related transactions, including services from offshore crypto exchanges, another step in the country’s move to further control its financial system.

Nevertheless, Lee told CoinDesk TV viewers he still thinks the price of bitcoin will surpass $100,000 by the end of the year.

Watch the full interview here:


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.

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