A major Chinese exchange specializing in the trading of Bitcoin announced on Thursday that it would stop trading by the end of the month, amid a broader crackdown against virtual currencies by the authorities in Beijing.
The announcement by BTC China, the country’s first and largest digital currency exchange, came days after the Chinese authorities banned fund-raising for new digital currencies, and amid worries that regulators would tighten rules surrounding currencies like Bitcoin.
The exchange’s decision is the first of its kind in China, and it raises the specter of other exchanges shutting down Bitcoin trading in the future.
China has sought to walk a tightrope when it comes to Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies. Whereas the currencies provide the country with a chance to develop new and emerging technologies, officials also worry that they would allow Chinese consumers to get around tough restrictions on how much money they can send overseas and allow them to be used to launder money.