Chinese state media CCTV has today reported that Binance is still letting local users trade cryptocurrencies, despite previously saying that it no longer provides services in the country.
A CCTV reporter in Beijing could set up an account at Binance’s Chinese platform - binancezh.com - and trade cryptocurrencies, per the report. They registered as an “individual” on the website, uploaded necessary verification documents, and even completed face verification on Binance's mobile app.
Specifically, the reporter purchased some bitcoin by engaging with a counterparty via Binance's P2P platform. They transferred fiat to the counterparty via a third-party payment tool and received a notification from Binance saying that the transaction was completed, according to the report.
In response to CCTV's inquiry, Binance said its app now cannot be downloaded in China, and its website cannot be accessed. Regarding the binancezh.com website, Binance told the news outlet that it is a test site, and “most of its users are from Egypt.”
Binance declined to comment to The Block when reached.
Chinese regulators moved to ban centralized crypto exchanges in September 2017. However, Chinese citizens can still buy crypto via peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms or over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks. Last October, Binance also launched its P2P platform in China, enabling users to buy crypto via Alipay and WeChat. Alipay later said it doesn't support crypto transactions. Chinese regulators are yet to greenlight P2P and OTC crypto trading activities.
It is also worth noting that the OTC route has recently come under the Chinese police's lens. Police have reportedly frozen bank accounts of OTC merchants and their clients over money laundering concerns.