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PBOC orders closure of Bitcoin trading accounts

2014-03-27 15:54 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) ordered banks and third-party payment companies to close Bitcoin trading accounts before April 15, Caixin.com Thursday reported citing unnamed sources from the central bank.

The PBOC issued a notice earlier this month, which banned banks and payment companies from providing services including opening accounts, payments and currency exchange to the top 15 Bitcoin trading platforms, according to the report.

Investors can cash out from existing accounts until April 15. After that date they can no longer make bank transfers or payments via third parties for Bitcoin trading on China's mainland.

China was the biggest Bitcoin market in 2013. Almost 60 percent of global Bitcoin trading was done in China. The currency soared to 8,000 yuan (US$1,300) per Bitcoin at its peak. The virtual currency involves risks related to government policy, litigation, speculation, money laundering, and substitution, the central bank said in a report earlier this year.

The PBOC began to crack down on domestic Bitcoin trading in December. Financial institutions were prohibited from getting involved in trading the virtual currency.

The world's biggest Bitcoin exchange at the time, the Shanghai-based BTC China, stopped taking new deposits for trading accounts, sending the Bitcoin into a downward spiral.

One Bitcoin traded at 3,392 yuan at BTC China by 2pm Thursday.

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