Thu, Jan 09, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Bitcoin banned by Taobao after China tightens rules

Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), China’s largest e-commerce Web site, is to ban the sale of bitcoins and other virtual currencies after the country’s central bank tightened regulations last month.

Taobao Marketplace, one of the main platforms that link buyers and sellers on Alibaba, will bar from Tuesday the sale of bitcoin and related products, including mining software and hardware for the virtual currency, the company said on its Web site on Tuesday.

China’s central bank stopped financial institutions from handling bitcoin transactions after the virtual currency’s value jumped 89-fold.

Alibaba’s move to ban the sale of virtual currencies and related products will help protect users, the company said.

None of Alibaba’s platforms have accepted bitcoin as a payment method in the past, and the company’s Alipay payment affiliate does not support Web sites that use bitcoin, Florence Shih (施致瑀), a spokeswoman for Alibaba in Hong Kong, said by e-mail.

“Alibaba’s new rules might be a result of recent central bank regulations and concerns about risks associated with Bitcoin,” Wang Weidong (王維東), an analyst at Shanghai-based Internet consultant IResearch, said by telephone yesterday.

“The changes will have quite a big impact on Bitcoin trading in China,” Wang said.

A number of third-party payment systems have also stopped processing transactions for bitcoin purchases.

Payment provider YeePay gave notice last month to BTC China, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the country, that it could no longer provide payment services.

TenPay, a payment provider owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), also halted service with the exchange.

Users can now buy vouchers from resellers that are recommended by BTC China. The vouchers will be credited into user’s accounts with the exchange for bitcoin trading, according to the company’s Web site.

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