Two more Chinese banks – China Guangfa Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank – have banned their customers from trading bitcoins, following the central bank’s new regulations.

The banks’ institutional and retail customers are no longer allowed to use their accounts to purchase or sell bitcoins as well as other virtual currencies. Both institutions announced that, if such practices were detected, the accounts would be suspended or closed down.

Du Jun, co-founder and vice president of virtual currency exchange, said: "We online exchanges as well as the entire industry are facing a serious challenge. Without an incoming cash flow, it’s hard to operate an exchange."

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) stated earlier this month that bitcoins were essentially a vehicle for speculation and were highly unstable.

The central bank also warned that trading bitcoins on online exchanges might be risky given the lack of regulation.

In December 2013, the PBOC banned all Chinese financial institutions from trading with Bitcoin.

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