The Chinese government is reportedly launching a pilot project that will allow local consumers to purchase bitcoin on its marketplaces, Reuters reports.

According to Reuters, the government is planning to set up a network of virtual currencies in the region and will eventually allow people to use virtual currencies on its platforms.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the pilot project is “in the early stages,” and is expected to launch in 2018.

She also noted that the ministry is considering the introduction of virtual currency exchanges to local markets.

“If we have a big market like Ponce City Market, we may also consider allowing [people to use] bitcoin on the platforms to buy products,” she said.

“The government will keep monitoring [the use of bitcoin] closely.”

The pilot project comes amid growing interest in the digital currency in China.

In March, the country announced that it would launch a bitcoin exchange to allow Chinese buyers to buy bitcoin on local platforms.

The announcement came after the government banned the use of cash for payment, citing the country’s “zero tolerance” of cybercrime and terrorism.