Now that the bitcoin giant Mt. Gox has fallen, is the craze for the digital currency fading?
Well, at least not in China.
The panic triggered by the sudden collapse of Mt. Gox this week seems to have less effect on the zeal of Chinese investors.
On Friday, while fans in Hong Kong embraced the opening of the first bitcoin retail store by ANXBTC exchange in the city, Beijing-based Huobi.com, China’s largest bitcoin exchange, saw its daily trading volume surge to 69% of the world’s total trading volume. This made Huobi the largest trading platform in the world by volume, according to latest statistics of Bitcoinity, a bitcoin rate tracking service site.
Despite bitcoins’ slow adoption rate and recent troubling questions surrounding its future, ANXBTC CEO Ken Lo told MarketWatch in Hong Kong that he saw a huge demand for the currency in Chinese markets and a bright future ahead, as more people come to learn about it and find it more convenient to buy the virtual currency.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the bitcoin retail store, Lo said buyers can simply walk into the store, pay the cash, and send the bitcoins to their digital wallets, except that they would have to provide an ID card and proof of address to comply with Hong Kong’s regulations on anti-money laundering.
According to Bitcoinity’s data, ANXBTC’s trading volume is around 1,000 BTC in the last 24 hours.
Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has not yet followed the mainland regulators’ lead and tightened any curb on bitcoin transactions. Local government only issued a warning earlier this year that they are closely monitoring the development of bitcoins to make sure it will not shock the stability of local financial market.
China’s central bank in December ordered financial institutions not to provide bitcoin-related services and products, but the tightening measures seem to have proved unsuccessful in curbing investors’ interest for long.
At a time when the bitcoin’s value plummeted amid the collapse of Mt. Gox exchange, bitcoin lovers in China are seeing a “gold rush.”
Bitcoin traded at $568.03 via BitStamp as of 5:20 a.m. EST, compared to the peak of $1,132 in 2013. On Monday, when Mt. Gox shut down its website, the value of bitcoin plunged more than 12%.
Meanwhile, the trading volume on Beijing-based Huobi.com soared, with 110,992 bitcoins changing hands on the site in the past 24 hours.
In the past seven days, about 1.38 million bitcoins have been traded on Huobi.com, accounting for 54% of total volume in the world.
“Many people here think the bitcoin is undervalued, and rush to buy the currency,” Hugh Madden, CTO of ANXBTC, told MarketWatch “this is partly why we set up the first bitcoin retail store in the city.”