Taobao, China's largest online marketplace, will ban the sale of all cryptocurrencies, mining equipment and mining tutorials from 14th Jan, it said in a statement released today.
A CoinDesk translation of the statement's major points is below:
In order to promote healthy development and ensure the interests of our members, some adjustments have been made in compliance with the government’s legal requirements. Our list of banned items will include bitcoin, litecoin and other virtual currency ... The adjustment will take effect starting on 14th Jan.
The statement specifies three categories of items, including a list of cryptocurrencies and related items:
1. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Beaocoin, Quarkcoins, Infinitecoin, Colossuscoin, CENT, PPCoin, Namecoin and other virtual currencies.
2. Tutorials on bitcoin mining.
3. Hardware and software that are used for mining bitcoin.
Following its release, the price of bitcoin on major Chinese exchanges experienced a slight drop from 5,600 yuan to 5,000 yuan, before rebounding to 5,300 yuan within half an hour.
Taobao, a consumer marketplace similar to eBay, claims more than half a billion registered users and daily transaction volumes exceeding 20bn yuan. The marketplace is currently one of the few places beyond the exchanges where users in China can buy bitcoin.
Taobao is owned by Alibaba Group, which also runs Alipay, China’s leading third-party online payment platform. The Chinese central bank last month banned financial institutions from dealing in bitcoin and barred payment companies from working with bitcoin exchanges. The move triggered a plunge in bitcoin prices.
Although Taobao's statement doesn't bar merchants on the marketplace from accepting bitcoin for goods and services, financial consultancy Kapronasia reported a drop in the number of merchants willing to take bitcoin payments in the wake of the central bank ruling, according to the South China Morning Post.