Ron Paul, the Chinese government, Bank of America -- everyone is starting to get their stay in, it seems, on the virtual currency known as Bitcoin.

 

China moved yesterday to restrict its banks from using Bitcoin as a currency, The New York Times reported. A notice issued by the People's Bank of China and four other ministries and agencies cited concerns about money laundering and a threat to financial stability.

 

Last month, American regulatory officials told a Senate hearing that Bitcoin offered tangible benefits for the financial system, but warned of the potential for criminal activity, the Times reported.

 

Former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul said earlier this week that Bitcoin might be one of the alternatives to the dollar, CNNMoney reported. It could "go down in history as the destroyer of the dollar," he said.

 

Analysts at Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit said yesterday that Bitcoin can become a significant commerce tool for Internet-based transactions, Bloomberg reported.

 

Bitcoin value has climbed more than 80-fold this year, as Bitcoins were trading at $983 on one active online exchange yesterday.

 

"To the extent that Bitcoin offers users many benefits and efficiencies as a medium of exchange, this means it possesses some fundamental value that may increase over time as it gains wider use," analysts said in the Bloomberg article.

 

Another New York Times article asserts that governments can't and aren't keeping up with potential fraud that comes with using Bitcoins.

 

There have been more than 30 circumstances in which at least 1,000 Bitcoins, or $1 million at the current exchange rate, were stolen or transferred illegally, the article said. Legal authorities have only been publicly involved in one case.