Users of the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, BTC China, claim the site now requires them to provide some form of identification to create or use a trading account. Logging into BTC China produces the following message: “In response to a recent policy shift, BTC China now requires users to submit identification or a passport number. Existing users will need to provide this information upon login. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
Despite the ID requirement, there does not seem to be an ID verification process for users outside China. Some users posted on reddit that they were able to continue trading immediately after submitting a number. This move comes after the People’s Bank of China issued clarification on bitcoin’s status. While the Bank appeared to forbid any traditional financial institutions from trading digital currencies themselves, it added that other merchants and bitcoin exchanges should be able to continue with their business, so long as they complied with the necessary KYC and AML regulations.
Mt. Gox, one of the original bitcoin exchanges, and still one of the largest, has required ID with verification for deposits and withdrawals in non-bitcoin currencies since May 2013. Government fears of criminal activity involving large amounts of bitcoin and the abrupt closures of other, smaller exchanges have all led to a general reduction in anonymity for bitcoin users using online trading platforms.