Alibaba is the largest e-commerce site in China and people can buy almost anything from electronics to kitchen sinks. However, people who like shopping using Bitcoins are out of luck since Alibaba has banned the use of the popular crypto-currency on its site.
While Bitcoin has been enjoying soaring exchange rates and unprecendented popularity, recent regulatory crackdowns in China has prompted Alibaba to prohibit the use of the new currency. A handful of wealthy Chinese businessmen have already invested millions of dollars into Bitcoin mining equipment. However, it seems that they will have difficulty actually making use of the currency within Chinese borders.
Alibaba's recent move may have partially been motivated by recent announcements from Chinese government that ban Chinese banks from engaging in transactions using Bitcoins. The Chinese government has justified the recent move as a precaution to safeguard the country's financial system.
The announcement was made during the middle of the week. However, the ban will take effect on Jan. 14 so Bitcoin owners still have a few days for last minute online shopping on Alibaba. There are currently a small number of Alibaba merchants who accept Bitcoin payments but a large majority of the Alibaba Bitcoin transactions pass through the Taobao Alipay system. A spokewoman from Alibaba has already confirmed that the Taobao Marketplace will stop accepting Bitcoin payments.
Aside from the Chinese government, a number of other financial institutions and governments from other countries have also been encouraging caution when dealing with Bitcoins. The Reserve Bank of India has already issued warnings to Indian citizens about the possible pitfalls of using Bitcoins. The US Department of Treasury, as well as the European Banking Authority, have also expressed their intent to further scrutinize the long-term ramifications of Bitcoins.
As for China, this is not the first time the Chinese government has expressed distrust towards alternative currencies. Back in 2009, it also took certain measures to discourage the proliferation of the QQ coin in the country.