Bangladesh threatens bitcoin users with twelve year sentence

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Bangladesh’s central bank has issued a statement against bitcoin – threatening people with a twelve year jail sentence if they are caught using the crypto-currency.

The bank decided to outlaw bitcoin following reports of growing bitcoin use in the country, as well the formation of the Bitcoin Foundation’s official chapter in Bangladesh, the organisation’s first affiliate program in Asia.

Bitcoin is “not a legal tender of any country” and using it is a “punishable offence” under recently introduced anti-money laundering laws, the Bangladeshi central bank warned.

“Transactions through bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency like it is not recognised by the Bangladesh Bank or any other agency of the Bangladesh government,” says the statement.

Bank officials also told the AFP wire service that anyone found guilty of transacting in the currency faces up to 12 years in jail.

Bangladesh is the latest country to restrict the use of bitcoin, in a bid to protect its local currency. Bolivia’s central bank banned the crypo-currency earlier this year, claiming that it was doing so to protect the boliviano, Bolivia’s national currency, as well as its citizens. Ecuador, however, is banning bitcoin in order to promote its own, state-backed digital currency.

Other countries, such as the UK, have been more receptive towards the possibility of growing bitcoin use, but still wary. The Bank of England noted that bitcoin posed no present threat to the pound, but were its use to spread, additional regulation would be necessary.

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