Business / Technology

Bitcoin could be 'game changer' for investment

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-25 07:02

Bitcoin, a virtual currency, may be a game changer for overseas investment as many Chinese are using it to snap up properties in Europe, insiders said.

But legal experts warned of a bubble about to burst due to a lack of confidence in the digital currency and further regulations.

"It is definitely a trend, because I don't see why people can't do it, since it is an easier and quicker way to invest overseas," said Bobby Lee, chief executive officer and co-founder of BTC China, one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, on Tuesday.

Lee made his comments during an inside bitcoin conference in Hong Kong.

"It is not considered a currency, so basically it is not restricted by the government's foreign exchange policy," he said.

The Hong Kong-based Fu Shengi, a firm that provides investment and financing services, said that it's helping people investing in the whole industrial chain related to bitcoins, including those wanting to purchase houses in Europe.

"As long as people in foreign countries are willing to accept bitcoins, we can help get the deal done," he said, adding that China could be a huge market as well because of strict capital controls.

Chinese regulators have sought to discourage investment in bitcoins by closing off any currency-related services such as trading, clearing or settlement. However, people may keep trading on the Internet using bitcoins if they're otherwise in compliance with the rules, according to the People's Bank of China.

While bitcoins can be used to circumvent capital controls, legal experts warned of higher risks of further regulation and fluctuations in value.

Zennon Kapron, a Shanghai-based expert on the topic, said that as good as it may seem, the attractiveness of using bitcoins to skirt capital controls falls after taking into account potential transaction fees that start at 2 percent.

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