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Business Insight

Central banks drive demand for bitcoin by devaluing their currencies

Cryptocurrency, wildly popular in China, is now safe-haven asset

 Bitcoin has gone from moving in tandem with tech stocks to moving more in line with assets such as gold.   © Reuters

A few weeks ago, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager was in Tokyo when he was approached online by a mainland Chinese woman using a function on her phone that identified fellow Chinese in the vicinity. She was looking to sell bitcoin she had bought in China for Japanese yen.

In the last few months the volume of purchases of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in China has soared: up 50%, according to one expert at the informal bitcoin association of China -- although there is no way to know for sure.

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