China has given bitcoin a big thumbs down, sending the digital currency’s value tumbling on online exchanges.
The People’s Bank of China has declared that bitcoins aren’t legally equivalent to recognized currencies and has forbidden financial institutions in the country from buying or selling bitcoins or providing bitcoin pricing. Chinese consumers are still permitted to conduct bitcoin transactions on their own, Bloomberg notes.
Word of the ban on bitcoin transactions at Chinese banks sent bitcoin values diving more than 20% on the BitStamp exchange. The currency fell below $1,000 after the news.
Bitcoin trading has surged in recent months, with the online currency hitting record highs after U.S. regulators told a Senate committee that they had no plans to regulate bitcoins.
Last month, a growing number of U.S. retailers participated in the second bitcoin Black Friday promotional event, offering deals for users of the online currency.