The multi-billion yuan a year industry that is the trade of virtual currency, or as it is more commonly known as, gold farming, has taken a huge hit.
China has banned the sale of virtual goods purchased with real currency today, and this includes pre-paid game cards. While some may find the industry questionable, this bold move by the Chinese government will definitely hit the Chinese economy.
China bars use of virtual money for trading in real goods
China has unveiled the first official rule on the use of virtual currency in the trade of real goods and services to limit its possible impact on the real financial system.
The government also spelled out the definition of "virtual currency" for the first time, which includes prepaid cards of cyber-games, according to a joint circular from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Commerce Friday.
"The virtual currency, which is converted into real money at a certain exchange rate, will only be allowed to trade in virtual goods and services provided by its issuer, not real goods and services." it said.
China has the world's largest population of Internet users, with 298 million people online as of the end of last year.
According to media reports, the virtual money trade topped several billion yuan last year after rising around 20 percent annually.
Since 2007, virtual money trading has drawn official attention, with the government demanding tighter controls as such trading became an avenue for gambling and illicit trade.
Under the new rules, using virtual money for gambling will be punished by public security authorities, and minors may not buy virtual money.
Get the full story here.