Bitcoin, the poster-currency for anarchy, has found its sweet spot in China, of all countries. There, the crypto-currency has become a way to circumvent Chinese capital controls and an alternative form of speculation amid a dearth of investment options.
What is more surprising is that the Chinese government has done practically nothing about Bitcoin, for now at least.
"The Chinese firewall will stop you from going to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, but it doesn't stop you from going to bitcoin.com. In China, they have this fantastic service, BTCChina, that allows you to buy Bitcoins with your Chinese yuan," Mr Hakim Mamoni, co-founder of Seedcoin, noted at the Bitcoin Singapore conference on Friday.
Today, China is the second-largest downloader of Bitcoin wallets - a virtual programme that stores users' Bitcoins - after the United States.
In May, 84,000 wallets were downloaded in China, vaulting it into pole position for that month. Incidentally, since May, the price of Bitcoins has surged from about US$100-US$150 to about US$450. This being a currency that is prized for keeping its owners anonymous, it is hard to pin the spike in price on the Chinese, but signs point their way.
"For the average investor in China, there are very few investment choices and that's why we've seen real-estate prices skyrocket. Now we're seeing that with Bitcoin as well," Mr Zennon Kapron, managing director of an advisory firm for financial services, said at Bitcoin Singapore.
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