Bitcoin is only the best known of the many digital currencies vying for attention. Photo: Reuters / Benoit Tessier / Illustration

As one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges announced it is shutting down trading, the era of bitcoin might be drawing to an end in China.

BTC China, launched in 2011, announced on Chinese social media and Twitter on Thursday that it would stop taking on new users effective immediately and stop trading effective September 30 after “careful consideration following the announcement published by Chinese regulators on September 4.” Its products and mining pool remain unaffected, the statement said.

Separately, the chairman of the China National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) said in an interview with China’s state television that there is “concrete evidence” that bitcoin is being used for “illegal activities,” the 21st Century Business Herald on Friday.

NIFA is a self regulatory association but was set up with the support of China’s central bank and has some of the largest online financial firms as its members.

The country’s other two large cryptocurrency trading platforms, Huobi and OKcoin, are still in operation, the 21st Century Business Herald said. Huobi said that it has not received any notification to shut down, but will respect any formal guidance and protect its customers’ assets.

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