The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that banks won�t start allowing customers to use bitcoin as a payment method for online banking for at least a year.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it would keep holding off on approving bitcoin as an alternative to traditional banks for some consumers and businesses until the banks can prove they can be trusted to process the virtual currency.
Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency, has gained popularity in recent months and has become a virtual currency that can be traded for goods and services online.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed has decided that it needs more time to make sure that it�s fully supporting bitcoin.
The Fed is expected to rule in the coming weeks on how to handle bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ether.
Bernanke had said earlier this month that he would be looking for evidence of regulators� support for bitcoin before they would be allowed to offer the virtual money.
Some economists have said that the Fed should allow banks to use the virtual currencies for online payments.
But that would open up a number of new challenges for banks, including how to prevent fraud and avoid being forced to give customers more information about how they are being used.
The Fed, for example, said it needs to know how many bitcoins customers have and how much they hold.
Some critics have said the Federal Reserve is overstating the risk posed by virtual currencies and that regulators need to make more progress in the digital currency space.