China’s central bank has defended its stance on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, saying "the bank does not want to suppress or discriminate against it."
The comments, seen as a positive development by the Bitcoin community, were made at a press conference by the People’s Bank of China’s chief of financial surveys and statistics.
Sheng Song Cheng said: "We don’t want to suppress or discriminate against Bitcoin, we are simply saying it is not a currency."
"We took a look at Bitcoin and it doesn’t have the characteristics of a currency.
"As far as I know, the vast majority of countries do not recognize Bitcoin as a currency."
The Chinese central bank banned banks from transacting in Bitcoin in early December, classifying it as a ‘virtual good’ rather than a currency.
Bitcoin’s value tumbled 28% after the announcement but regained stability later the same day.
It was then dealt two further blows as Bitcoin operator BTC China stopped accepting customer deposits on 18 December, causing the value to plunge 35% over the course of a day and online retail giant Alibaba has banned the sale of the digital currency from 19 January.
At the time of writing, the price of Bitcoin on BTC China was CNY5,054 ($837) a fall of 1.4% from CNY5,126 the previous day.
Sheng Song said: "People’s Bank and the relevant departments will continue to focus on Bitcoin and its associated risks, strengthen the monitoring and analysis and guide the public to establish a correct concept of money and investment philosophy."