Ecuador has banned virtual currency exchanges that it says have violated local laws against money laundering and counterfeiting.
The government also wants to crack down on money-laundering networks that operate out of the country.
The move comes as Ecuador, a longtime supporter of the bitcoin and other virtual currencies, has been cracking down on those that seek to move the currency.
Ecuador’s foreign minister, Hector Garzon, on Friday said the new measures would affect a small number of virtual currency companies operating in the country, Reuters reported.
He did not elaborate on the details of the ban.
Garzon said the government is “investigating the activities of a few virtual currency firms that have been operating in Ecuador” for years.
A government official told Reuters that the move would not affect anyone in Ecuador who is working as a business agent or who has a legitimate business interest.
Ecuador also banned a group of virtual currencies in April that it said were operating without authorization.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ban was designed to target virtual currency businesses that are not legitimate.
The new measures come after the government announced it would take steps to shut down money laundering networks in the first half of 2018.
It is unclear how many money-transfer services have been shut down in the past two years.
The ban also applies to “virtual currency exchanges which are not authorized to transact in the money of Ecuador” and any business that deals with the virtual currency of a country not listed on the World Trade Organization’s blacklist of illegal financial services.
Garion said Ecuador wants to bring more transparency to the virtual currencies industry and to provide a level playing field for all companies operating there.