With the value of the Chinese Yuan (CNY) weakening due to high interest rates, there are a lot of people in China using capital flight as a means to move their money out of China to secure their funds in other currencies overseas.
As the CEO of the popular bitcoin exchange BTCC in China, Bobby Lee says that people can use bitcoin to determine the black market rate of CNY saying, “Bitcoin has no limits. You can go in and out all you want. It’s a really fascinating topic.”
As Lee has a first hand knowledge of CNY exchange rates with bitcoin (BTC), he has been able to deduce that using a simple equation he is able to know out the “real” prices of CNY versus the “official” rates given by the Chinese government. Since CNY (aka renminbi) is a controlled currency, its value is fixed to the USD at around $6.5 and is not freely traded on markets.
“For example: let’s say the official rate is $6.5 CNY per US dollar. If you take the (bitcoin exchange) CNY price and divide by $6.5, and it seems to be higher than the price on a USD exchange, that would imply that bitcoin is in shorter supply and people are prepared to pay more CNY for bitcoin than elsewhere,” he added. “And that implies the black market rate is actually higher than $6.5, and the CNY is weaker than its official rate.”
Using this equation, we can quickly figure out the black market rate of CNY using bitcoin. For example, if we convert 1 BTC to CNY, at the time of this publishing the value is $2,761.89 CNY. If we then divide $2,761.89 / $6.5 fixed value, we get $424.74 CNY black market rate.
Trading on bitcoin exchanges can still be tough if you are looking to profit from arbitrage opportunities back into fiat currencies like the dollar. If you are staying within bitcoin, it’s simple to move funds quickly when it’s BTC-to-BTC. However, moving USD-to-BTC-to-USD, you are presented with delays which create friction.