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Cautious optimism at China bitcoin summit despite uncertain future

Published on May 11, 2014 1:20 AM

BEIJING (AFP) - Some 200 virtual currency enthusiasts excitedly traded namecards and participated in panel discussions on Saturday at China's first-ever Global Bitcoin Summit - but several expressed shock that the event was given the green light in the first place.

Bitcoin is a form of cryptography-based e-money that can be stored either virtually or on a user's hard drive, and offers a largely anonymous payment system.

Speculators drove China's Bitcoin prices into the financial stratosphere last year, peaking at 7,588.88 yuan (now US$1,528) in November, prompting the ruling Communist Party to take a series of steps that have triggered a tumble in the the virtual currency and cast doubt on its future.

"I'm a little bit worried," Mr Eric Gu, the co-founder of the Shanghai-based Bit Angels Club, said on the sidelines of the gathering at Beijing's National Convention Centre.

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