BEIJING — Bitcoins suffered a new setback after China’s central bank said Thursday its banks and payment systems are barred from handling the virtual currency. The central bank said bitcoins did not qualify as a currency but private individuals still are allowed to trade them at their own risk.
Bitcoins are created, distributed, and authenticated independently of any bank or government. Their relative anonymity holds out the promise of being able to spend money across the Internet without scrutiny.
Despite wild swings in value, the virtual currency has gained broader acceptance.