In Hong Kong, Placing Their Bets on Bitcoin

hongkongbitcoin20 Mar 2014 / New York Times – HONG KONG — By day, David Shin is an investment banker at a major financial firm. By night and in pretty much every other free minute, he is an entrepreneur looking to break into Hong Kong’s growing Bitcoin scene.

Even as concerns swirl about the long-term viability of the virtual currency, Mr. Shin is raising money, courting clients and hiring staff to build a sort of stock exchange for Bitcoin-oriented companies. Mr. Shin, 38, plans to start his venture, CryptoMex, at the end of April.

“I believe Bitcoin will bring about a brave new world of money,” he said. “The Internet started out as a revolutionary protocol, became more easy to use over time, and saw an explosive growth rate. The same is happening with Bitcoin.”

Mr. Shin joins a growing field of technology experts, financial players and crypto-geeks who are betting that an unfavorable regulatory environment in mainland China has put this special administrative region — with its more laissez-faire attitude — on the edge of something big.

Bitcoin, digital money backed by no government and “mined” by computers performing complex algorithms, have been largely unregulated, creating a virtual Wild West of programmers and speculators. But as Bitcoin tries to gain greater mainstream acceptance, authorities around the world have begun eyeing it more cautiously, as they might a currency. The spectacular collapse of Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange, has only fanned regulators’ concerns…. Read more

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