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theEweekly Wrap

China banks stop Bitcoin use – Twitter shares at all time low – Facebook introduces new ad service

Does Bitcoin have a future in China?

The virtual-currency has been dealt a huge blow this week as two of China's largest banks ban all crypto-currency.

This week the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and online payments company Tenpay revealed that they would be banning the withdrawal, sale and purchase of Bitcoin by their customers.

Although these banks are far from the first to ban the use of Bitcoin, the three organisations are the largest, national entities to make this move. The statements released are identical to those released by other businesses, yet could have the greatest impact on the future of Bitcoin to date:

To protect the property rights and interests of the public and prevent money laundering risks, from now on, our customers -- organizations and individuals -- are forbidden from the recharge and withdrawals, purchase and sale of bitcoins, virtual currency and other trading funds using their account. Any customers found to have broken this rule may have their accounts closed.

However, Bitcoin has been struggling in the Chinese market since the closure of BTC China in December, when what was the world's largest Bitcoin exchange stopped taking deposits and ceased to recognise Bitcoin as a legal currency in the country. The latest revelations have caused Bitcoin commentators to suggest that the stability of the virtual-currency may strengthen without the constant uncertainty of Chinese regulation to hinder its evolution.

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Twitter shares reach an all-time low

The social media site has revealed an increase in profits year-on-year, but the recently incorporated company is still struggling to attract new users to the service.

Since becoming an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in September 2013, there has been an increased pressure for Twitter to maintain its rate of user growth which between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013 had averaged at a 10 per cent increase in monthly active users. In 2013 this increase levelled out to around 6 per cent, dropping to 3.9 per cent in Q4 before rising to 5.8 per cent in Q1 of this year.

On Wednesday Twitter revealed that its monthly active user base has risen to 255 million for the first time, while its Q1 revenue has jumped 119 per cent to $250m (£149m). However, it is the lack of network user growth that has got shareholders worried, with the company's share price having fallen by more than 11 per cent overnight and a net loss of $132m (£78m) recorded for the latest quarter.

Leila Thabet, managing director of We Are Social US said: "Revenue is obviously important, but the big issues remain user growth, monthly active users and engagement challenges... The younger, media-savvy segment is largely locked in, now it's time for Twitter to connect with the slightly older demographic of the general population who have fuelled Facebook's continued user growth."

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Facebook stock on the rise

Facebook's stock has experienced another rise following a change to the company's advertising strategy.

The social network announced the introduction of its ad network, Audience Network at the F8 developers conference 2014 on Wednesday. Facebook Audience Network is a significant advancement in Facebook's ever-expanding range of products, as it will allow the company, publishers and developers to better target ads in their apps based on user activity.

This means that when a user signs into Facebook on their mobile device, that device shares its unique identifier number with that person's Facebook account, which Facebook will automatically associate with that account from then on.

As a result, when users launch an app that is also part of Facebook's Audience Network on the same mobile device, that app alerts Facebook which passes on a relevant ad to the app according to the information provided by the user to Facebook; excluding any personal information.

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