Nation & World News

China Bans Bitcoin Trading By Banks

By Bill Chappell on December 5th, 2013

China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.

The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday’s news from China’s central bank.

From Shanghai, NPR’s Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit:

“China is the world’s biggest market for Bitcoin and has helped drive its explosive appreciation this year. Today, though, the People’s Bank of China appeared to prick the Bitcoin bubble here.

“China’s central bank said Bitcoin is unsafe because it has few controls and makes it easier to launder money and finance terrorism.

“The bank said: ‘It does not have the legal status of a currency, and it cannot and moreover should not be allowed to circulate in the market as a currency.’ ”

Frank says that after the central bank issued its ban, “the price of Bitcoin fell from a daily high of about $1,240 to about $920, according to BTC China, a Bitcoin trading platform here.”

The Bitcoin currency is unregulated and can easily cross international borders. Its lack of ties to a banking system give Bitcoin a degree of anonymity that has led critics to say it eases transactions in the drug trade and other illegal markets.

As Reuters reports, “Chinese nationals are major participants in the [Bitcoin] market and hold an outsized share of the total number of Bitcoins in circulation. Shanghai-based BTC China has recently become the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange by volume.”

A Utah couple, Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham-Craig, recently tested the spreading acceptance of Bitcoin by using it to conduct all of their transactions in the U.S. and abroad for more than 100 days. On WBUR’s Here & Now, Austin Craig describes one of their first purchases:

“I have a cousin that’s a dentist, and I had a toothache right before we were leaving on our trip. So he agreed to see me, and I set him up to take Bitcoin. And then a couple days ago he called me, and he was like, ‘So, I haven’t cashed in my Bitcoin, and I just checked the balance and it’s really high now.’ ”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.


More Stories in News from NPR

An image from aerial footage of flood damage in South Carolina.

18 Dams Breached And Death Toll Rises In S.C. Flooding

As he announced those conditions this morning — and showed a live picture of downtown Columbia under sunny skies — TV meteorologist Tim Miller got a bit emotional.

Security and police officers help Pierre Plissonnier, an executive in Air France's long-haul flight unit, to climb over a fence after several hundred employees stormed into the offices of Air France on Monday.

After Employees Mob Air France Executives, French Government Gets Involved

Executives were taking part in meetings about how the company would slash nearly 3,000 jobs when hundreds of workers stormed the Air France offices Monday.

FAA Proposes $1.9 Million Fine Against Photo Company Over Drone Use

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was the largest civil penalty the agency has ever proposed after drone use allegedly endangered airspace safety.

An image from the Draft Kings website shows the range of fantasy games they run — with payouts of thousands of dollars at stake.

Fantasy Sports Sites Face Questions About Games’ Integrity

Two leading fantasy sports companies are promising to protect “the integrity of the games” they offer customers, after an employee released lineup information early.

"This is unacceptable," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said of Russian military aircraft violating Turkey's airspace. NATO defense ministers will meet Thursday to discuss the situation.

Russian Warplane Incursions In Turkey Are ‘Unacceptable,’ NATO Chief Says

Turkey says that on Sunday, a MiG-29 plane kept two of its F-16 jets on its radar as potential targets for more than five minutes.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments