In a decision that could rattle the Chinese regulators, a newly opened hotel announced that it is accepting payments in Ether.
Ethereum Hotel, as the establishment is called, opened its doors at the National Scenic Area of China’s Sichuan province, becoming the first hotel in the country that publicly accepts cryptocurrency. The owners behind the crypto-titled business didn’t provide any details about how they plan to tackle regulators that are reportedly opening new fronts in its battle against cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. The local media report instead focused on how the decision to accept Ether is an advanced move as a whole. A translated excerpt:
“The hinterland of western China has a rich and traditional hotel industry. They are entrepreneurs who accept Ethereum as payments with a goal to participate in advanced blockchain technology and trend.”
Pictures from the inside of the Ethereum Hotel also showed a big Bitcoin wall art at the reception lobby, hinting that the establishment must also be accepting the top digital currency as payments.
Some new photos of the "ETH Hotel", China's first hotel to accept $ETH payment. There's Bitcoin inside too!
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) September 28, 2018
There is no response from local authorities reported yet, but it cannot be positive because of the People Bank of China’s hard take on cryptocurrencies. The regulator has lately accelerated its scrutiny by cutting almost all the major roads to attain cryptocurrencies. The PBoC is blocking access to exchanges (including offshore), banning financial accounts that have links to cryptocurrencies, and is asking payment companies to monitor and report suspicious transactions.
But regardless of the mainland ban, Chinese investors – reportedly – are still buying ICO tokens in large by converting their RMB holdings to USDT or Bitcoin through over the counter exchanges. The scrutiny, it appears, is loud in media but is hardly showing any results thanks to the encrypted nature of p2p transactions.
That, however, does not change the fact that Ethereum Hotel is openly inviting trouble to its freshly opened doors. In its case, the identity of both the sender and receiver of Ethereum will be known, making it easier for regulators to take necessary action against the two. It wouldn’t be difficult to locate the address of the hotel, given the owners have thoroughly explained the directions to reach them.
From the point of view of the legality, there is no PRC regulation that prohibits Chinese investors from holding or trading cryptocurrencies.
Shen Wenhao, a legal counselor at JunZeJun Law Offices, referred to an early PBoC notice, jointly issued by five government agencies, which defined Bitcoin as a special commodity, not currency.
“That notice also explicitly provides that Bitcoin does not have legal status as a currency and should not be circulated and used in the market as a currency. This should still be the position taken by the PBOC today,” he added.
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