The price of bitcoin in China surpassed two-year highs on leading Chinese exchanges today, as Chinese investors continue to seek safe digital havens for their funds.
Last month Bitcoin Magazinereported that the continuous devaluation of the Chinese currency yuan (CNY) was increasing demand for bitcoin in China. The trend was strong enough to be noticed by the mainstream financial press, and The Wall Street Journal ran a story titled “Chinese investors buying up bitcoin as yuan falls.”
Bitcoin Magazine contacted leading Bitcoin operators and exchange CEOs in China to take the pulse of the market in light of this most recent upward price trend.
“It’s very exciting to see bitcoin’s current price rally,” said BTCC CEO Bobby Lee. “It’s about time! We’ve been seeing record trading volumes in China this quarter, as the devaluation of the renminbi continues. I think bitcoin’s price might surpass its 2013 all-time high, as soon as early 2017, reaching or surpassing $1,500.”“Besides the devaluation of the yuan, I think the main reason behind bitcoin’s 80 percent price rise this year is because of major global political and economic upheavals, including Brexit, Trump’s election, turmoil in the banking sector, India’s cancellation of larger-denomination banking notes and Venezuela’s introduction of more stringent capital controls,” Lee told Bitcoin Magazine. “I also think bitcoin’s relative stability and its improvements — such as the implementation of SegWit this year — have made it a safe choice for investors, in comparison with altcoins.”“Looking to the long term, I think bitcoin will reach several thousand U.S. dollars, and might even reach $10,000, before the next block-halving in 2020,” concluded Lee. “This prediction makes sense if you look at how much governments have continued expanding the supply of fiat currencies through printing money and other quantitative easing solutions. Remember: as money supply continues to rapidly increase over time, bitcoin’s price will go up because bitcoin price is measured in units of these inflating currencies.”
“Since the Trump election, the PBOC [People’s Bank of China] has allowed the CNY to weaken within a hair's breath of 7.00 [per US dollar],” said Arthur Hayes, Co-Founder and CEO of BitMEX. “During this recent period of devaluation, Beijing closed one of the most important channels of capital flight, offshore M&A [mergers and acquisitions]. Chinese companies acquiring overseas firms must now get approval from the government.”
Similar to its behavior on other exchanges, the exchange rate of bitcoin at BitMEX is surging noticeably at the time of writing.
“For regular comrades, it is getting harder and harder to escape the weakening CNY,” Hayes told Bitcoin Magazine. “Many tried to escape into the commodity markets after the stock market crashed and property became unaffordable. Beijing is not keen on this rampant speculation and has increased margin requirements, thus causing a collapse in commodity futures trading volumes.”“Bitcoin remains one market where Chinese people can speculate 24/7, and they can convert some wealth into bitcoin as a hedge against a weakening domestic currency,” concluded Hayes. “That is why bitcoin is trading at 2-year highs in China.”
"With the recent blockchain hype decreasing, many startups are turning their eyes on bitcoin,” BitKan CEO Leon Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. “BitKan tx volumes are suggesting that the usage of bitcoin in China and many other emerging markets is growing. Previously, Chinese users are speculation-driven, but number of actual users is increasing fast. Based on the statistics, we are bullish on the bitcoin price."
According to the data from the domestic trading platform, Huobi.com, December 2 saw a precipitous increase in Bitcoin price. At 10 a.m. in China, bitcoin prices reached their highest level since January of 2014, maxing out at a high of 5497 RMB at 1:56 p.m.
"From a global economic perspective, we are in an era of increasingly uncertain variables,” said Huobi COO Zhu Jiawei. “Bitcoin’s price jumped 21 percent on the day of Brexit. Risk aversion has begun, and outside investment channels are ready.
“From the investment environment in China, RMB depreciation continues, leading to strong demand for hedges,” Jiawei told Bitcoin Magazine. “And with real estate market regulation, people are looking to futures and bitcoin to hedge against RMB depreciation. And for bitcoin itself, awareness this year has increased and investors have paid increasing attention to it as an investment product.”
“The central bank has contributed to popularizing digital currency, hiring new digital currency talent, and announcing that the digital currency initiative of the central bank has completed the two rounds of revision,” concluded Jiawei. “All of this is leading to more people in China seeing the value of bitcoin."
"In the past two years, the Chinese government has had a relatively loose attitude towards bitcoin,” CHBTC CEO Dawei Li told Bitcoin Magazine. “China's central bank also is actively preparing to issue its digital currency, which is a positive signal for bitcoin companies and investors. The recent devaluations of the CNY has also helped to legitimize bitcoin; this coupled with current macroeconomic crises around the world, we believe, has lead to substantial inflows of capital into bitcoin as it is increasingly seen a safe haven asset in the eyes of local investors."
GongShi Tan, BTC Media’s Chinese affiliate, touched base with outspoken Chinese bitcoin miner and ltc1btc CEO Zhuo’er Jiang, who said that he sees the price of bitcoin being in a “bull market cycle … especially if we complete a big block expansion, which will lift the limitations of the transactions and active IP addresses. According to Metcalfe's law, the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. In that case, I think the bitcoin price is very likely to hit twice its highest point, which would be 16,000 RMB.”
“There have been a lot of discussions in the past month on new regulations and attention from the regulators on controlling cross-border capital flow, which is certainly driving a certain amount of interest in bitcoin in China,” said Zennon Kapron, Founder and Director of Kapronasia, a leading financial industry research and consultancy firm specializing in Asian markets. The author of Chomping at the Bitcoin: The Past, Present and Future of Bitcoin in China, Kapron has more than 20 years experience in the finance and technology sectors, working at Citibank and Intel before setting up KapronAsia in 2007.“We are also seeing some of the major blockchain initiatives waiver, like R3, which seems to be losing investors,” Kapron told Bitcoin Magazine. “Although the banks pulling out appear to be either following competition initiatives or starting their own, it could also represent the mood that it indicates a longer-term pivot by the financial industry back to bitcoin.”“A significant amount of money has flowed into other crypto launches, most notably Zcash, which had some tremendous volatility in the month since launch,” concluded Kapron. “Some of that money is likely coming back to bitcoin, especially as the price of Zcash drops along with its volatility.”
Kapron’s observations on the “back to bitcoin” trend seem especially interesting. In fact, despite the interest raised by alternative blockchains, only bitcoin has achieved real popularity as a safe asset for investors, Therefore, a weak CNY is likely to continue to make switching to bitcoin more and more appealing for Chinese investors.
“This has clearly been a year of blockchain in China with positive government involvement and major investment,” said John Riggins, Editor of GongShi Tan. “Meanwhile, bitcoin prices have snuck up past 2-year highs.”
“This bitcoin price momentum has shown that bitcoin, the original blockchain use case, is still alive and well and that China can continue to be the driver in terms of adoption and price movement,” added Riggins. “The team at GongShi Tan is excited to cover these developments from the ground in Shanghai, as we aim to be a reliable and insightful information source in China and bridge from China to the English-speaking world.”