Covered in detail by Reuters earlier today, China’s government has barred all financial institutions from currency exchanges that involve the digital Bitcoin currency. While the Chinese government could be leaning towards a specific act of Bitcoin regulation in the future, government officials believe there’s significant risk involved with the currency due to the volatility of Bitcoin’s value among other reasons. However, the government did not ban the use of Bitcoin among residents of China. Only the banks are forbidden from trading in Bitcoin.
In a statement released by the People’s Bank of China, representatives of the organization indicated that the act of money laundering using Bitcoin is too simple due to the lack of regulation. That’s partly why Bitcoin transactions were banned, namely because that money could ultimately finance illegal operations such as terrorism.
After the announcement, Chinese exchanges that handle Bitcoin saw a significant drop in the value of the digital currency. Over the last three months, the price of Bitcoin has risen significantly due to increased speculation from people all over the world.
Interestingly, analysts at Bank of America released a research study on Bitcoin today indicating that Bitcoin could ultimately become a “major means of payment for ecommerce,” thus competing with services like Paypal or Google Wallet. Assuming that Bitcoin does achieve that status in the future, the analysts predict that the value of Bitcoin will level out around $1,300 for 1 BTC. The current value of Bitcoin has hovered between $900 to $1,200 over the past week.
The analysts also indicated that governments will have to start taking Bitcoin more seriously if the digital currency does become more widely accepted among the business community. However, analysts warned the public about the security issues with converting Bitcoin to other forms of currency, due to the significant volume of Bitcoin theft and hacking issues with exchanges in the past.