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How China became bitcoin’s heartland

CHINA HAS QUIETLY become the world capital of cryptocurrencies. Most bitcoin mining and, until recently, 90% of transactions took place right here in this country. Bitcoin ATMs are popping up all over Hong Kong. And our 4-minute video report includes an extraordinary tale about how Xinjiang fits into the cryptocurrency story.

A reader named The Colonel pointed Chloe and me to a chain of cryptocurrency machines you can find in laundromats. “It’s very convenient as I can launder my socks and launder my cash,” he said.

The bad news is that a single bitcoin will cost you HK$274,000. The worse news is that lots of people bought bitcoins in April, when they cost HK$495,000 each.

Recently, people in China have discovered that there are a lot of negative things about cryptocurrencies, including their effect on the environment and on people’s peace of mind: so attitudes have turned negative.

What’s the main thing that drives cryptocurrency prices (and millions of people’s savings and investments) up and down? No, it’s not Elon Musk’s jokes on Twitter. It’s announcements, in Chinese, on the Wechat accounts of mainland bankers.

The world changes quietly and most people don’t notice.


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