The first Bitcoin exchange in Colombia, Colbitex, which opened just two weeks ago, has gone offline – apparently due to legal issues with digital currency in the country.
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Colbitex Goes Offline
Spanish-language cryptocurrency news site DiarioBitcoin reported the closure is a temporary measure while the company and regulators determine the legal framework under which it may operate, if at all.
At present, Colbitex’s website is offline with users directed instead to a basic support page to submit fund withdrawal requests. Local financial regulator the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia permits only transactions that have a Colombian peso equivalent.
Since Bitcoin is not considered a “real currency,” there can be no official exchange rate. Colbitex’s support page notes that the regulator had not explicitly banned the use of Bitcoin in Colombia, but in May 2016 had issued a warning along with central bank Banco de la República de Colombia about the risks associated with using digital currencies.
The boilerplate risk warning has been repeated by central banks and financial regulators around the world since the beginning of 2014.
Bitcoin Taking Root in Colombia
Colbitex had proved popular with locals, recording 103,495,995 Colombian pesos ($34,528 USD) in