BTC China, one of the country’s leading digital currency exchanges, has installed China’s first bitcoin ATM and launched an online app allowing individuals to buy and sell bitcoins using mobile phones, skirting local banking regulations seen as increasingly hostile to so-called crypto-currencies. Rising interest from mainland Chinese speculators was credited for driving up global bitcoin prices last year to above $1,000 on some exchanges. But a subsequent crackdown by the People’s Bank of China has seen the digital currency sag. Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has given up plans to rebuild under bankruptcy protection and asked a local court to allow it to be liquidated. Unlike conventional money, bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are generated by computers and are not backed by any central bank or government, or by physical assets. They can be exchanged through nearly any file transfer mechanism for goods, services or cash – but the latter has proved a problem.