CHINA BAN: China's central bank said its banks are barred from handling bitcoins, a virtual currency. Financial institutions can't use bitcoin prices for products or sell, trade or store bitcoins. Private individuals still are allowed to trade them at their own risk.
BACK STORY: Bitcoins are created, distributed, and authenticated independently of any bank or government. Despite wild swings in the currency's value, it has been moving toward broader acceptance, with more companies accepting bitcoins.
ACTIVE MARKET: About 2 million bitcoins were traded over the past month on China's biggest exchange, BTC China, according to bitcoincharts.com, which follows trading in the cybercurrency.