India's largest bitcoin trading platform has suspended its operations, citing a recent public advisory by the central bank highlighting the risks of virtual currencies, according to The Hindu.
The closure of BuySellBitCo.in, which sees about 12 million rupees of Bitcoin transactions monthly, has spooked a number of other trading platforms including INRBTC to stop services indefinitely.
"Post the RBI [Reserve Bank of India] circular, we are suspending buy and sell operations until we can outline a clearer framework with which to work. This is being done to protect the interest of our customers and in no way is a reflection of Bitcoin's true potential or price," said a statement on BuySellBitCo.in.
Another trading platform, INRBTC, said the only option now was to suspend services until further arrangements could be made. "All trades which have been executed till December 26, 2013, will be processed completely. All pending orders will be cancelled and the deposits refunded," the exchange said, in the report.
The central bank on Tuesday warned the public of Bitcoin's possible use in money laundering and terrorist funding. While no bans or restriction were issued, it led to a spike in the number of Indian Bitcoin users selling off their currency in late-evening trades, according the the report.
RBI's warning is seen as a potential lead up to a further clampdown, with the virtual currency's rising popularity prompting regulators worldwide to mull tighter regulations. Last week, China banned the use of Bitcoin by financial institutions and third party payment providers.