Virtual currency Bitcoin blocked in Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) — Bitcoin, the cybercurrency trying to go mainstream, says it has suspended trading in Thailand after officials declared it illegal.

The company overseeing bitcoins in Thailand says on its website that the central bank informed it on Monday that it’s illegal to trade bitcoins, move them in or out of the country, or use them to buy or sell goods or services.

Despite wild swings in value, the virtual currency has been inching toward broader acceptance. Atlanta-based BitPay handles bitcoin transactions for more than 4,500 companies, taking payments in bitcoins and forwarding the cash equivalent to the vendor involved.

The statement says Bitcoin Co. Ltd. applied for a money exchange license as part of efforts to operate lawfully in Thailand.

The central bank did not immediately comment.

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