SHANGHAI, April 11 Two of China's largest
bitcoin exchanges said their trading accounts at certain
domestic banks would be closed down by the lenders next week,
the latest blow to the virtual currency.
Unlike conventional money, bitcoin is generated by computers
and is not backed by any central bank or government, or by
Huobi.com said in a statement posted on its website that
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd
would close its accounts by April 18. However, it
added accounts at other banks were currently unaffected.
Rival BTC Trade said on its website that the Hangzhou branch
of the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd
would freeze all bitcoin trading accounts by April 15.
The exchanges did not cite a reason for the closures.
Officials at ICBC and AgBank were not immediately available
In December the central bank, the People's Bank of China
(PBOC), banned financial institutions from trading in bitcoin,
saying the government would act to prevent money laundering
risks from the digital currency. It did not ban trading by
Since the ban, some media have reported that the PBOC had
instructed domestic lenders to close the accounts of bitcoin
exchanges by April 15. However the central bank said in a notice
on their official Weibo micro-blogging website on March 21 that
it has not issued such notices to banks.
Following the central bank ban on financial institutions
trading in the digital currency, bitcoin exchange platform BTC
China said it had stopped taking Chinese yuan deposits after a
third-party payment provider abruptly cut off service.
Chinese Business News reported that the government had asked
third-party payment services to stop handling bitcoin
(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Kazunori Takada and