Alibaba's Taobao to ban sale of Bitcoin, related products following stricter rules from country's central bank

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 08, 2014 02:31 AM EST

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is set to bar the sale of Bitcoins and other digital currencies in the wake of the tightening regulations from China's central bank in December, Bloomberg reported. Alibaba is the biggest ecommerce website in China.

Taobao Marketplace, one of the primary platforms that connect buyers and sellers on Alibaba, will not allow the sale of Bitcoin starting January 14. The ban will also include mining software and hardware for the digital currency, according to a post on its website.

After Bitcoin's value increased 89-fold, the central bank of China forbade financial institutions from accepting transactions in the virtual currency. Alibaba said its move to ban the sale of digital currencies and products that are related to its will serve to protect users.

In an email, Alibaba spokeswoman Florence Shih told Bloomberg that Bitcoin was not accepted by any of Alibaba's platforms as a payment method in the past. Shih added that websites that use Bitcoin are not supported by its Alipay payment affiliate.

Shanghai-based internet consultant IResearch Analyst Wang Weidong told Bloomberg in a phone interview, "Alibaba's new rules might be a result of recent central bank regulations and concerns about risks associated with Bitcoin. The changes will have quite a big impact on Bitcoin trading in China."

Several third-party payment systems have also halted their acceptance of Bitcoin to pay for purchases. Last month, payment provider YeePay told BTC China that it would not anymore be giving payment services. Tencent Holdings Ltd payment provider, Ten Pay, also stopped its service with the exchange, the report said. BTC China is the biggest Bitcoin exchange in the country.

In a statement on their website, BTC China said users will be able to purchase vouchers from recommended resellers. The vouchers will be credited to their account for Bitcoin trading.

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