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Chinese capital controls behind bitcoin spikes

By Tim Stewart
2 minute read

Recent surges in the price of bitcoin are largely a result of Chinese government efforts to “clamp down” on capital outflows, says Bell Direct.

Speaking at the ASX Investor Day in Sydney yesterday, Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee was asked about recent "demand spikes" in the price of bitcoin.

"They often come through China clamping down on capital outflows from the country and as an alternative source of currency for getting money out of the country," Ms Lee said.

Bitcoin is starting to behave like an alternative currency for investors, much in the same vein as gold, she said.

"I don't think it's going to be as popular as gold, but maybe I'll bite my tongue in 15 years' time and we'll all be using bitcoin," Ms Lee said.

Talking about "alternative currencies" in general, Ms Lee said governments around the world "can't be too happy about them".

"At least with [fiat] currencies you have some sort of control over the demand and supply via interest rates. But with something like bitcoin the government loses power," she said.

"The next decade will be very interesting in terms of alternative currencies as well, whether it's things like Apple Pay or perhaps an Apple currency.

"We're going to see a rapidly changing environment just because of the new types of technologies that are becoming available," Ms Lee said.

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