A senior executive at China's state-backed internet finance body says ''stateless'' digital tokens such as bitcoin pose risks as they could be used for illegal actions, in further comments that ramp up the rhetoric against virtual currencies. As Ciara Lee reports, they comments come as two Chinese bitcoin platforms announce they are to close.
It divides opinion And is prone to volatility But Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have grown rapidly this year And global powers have struggled to decide how to regulate it Cashing out is China - where at least two Bitcoin platforms have announced an end to trading. A senior executive at China's state-backed internet finance body said "stateless" digital tokens such as bitcoin pose risks. Former president of the Bank of China Li Lihui says they can be used for illegal activity And called for the development of "legal" digital currencies. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEBR, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "The truth is of course they have expanded significantly. There are loads of cryptocurrencies around and they've expanded also the platforms in which they operate. It's a very very interesting one to watch but it's very very dangerous for many people to be investing in, as we've seen in fact the price plummeting just recently but it's happened a number of times before." BTCChina, a major Chinese bitcoin exchange, said on Thursday it would stop trading from the end of the month, due to the tightening regulation. And smaller platform ViaBTC followed suit. That sparked a slide in bitcoin's value, leaving it more than 30 percent below its record high at the start of September. The price steadied on Friday and was up 2.4 percent on U.S. exchange Bitstamp. Some users of China's Weibo platform said they used the price fall to buy more bitcoin to trade overseas The ability to move money freely anywhere in the world without delay is a stark contrast with Beijing's capital controls. But it's got other critics too. This week JP Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon described bitcoin as a "fraud" and "not a real thing". Prompting a backlash from the online bitcoin community who have long criticised the banking industry for being out of touch.