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World currencies are tanking on Brexit, but bitcoin is surging

Some of Bitcoin enthusiast Mike Caldwell's coins are pictured at his office in this photo illustration in Sandy
Reuters/Jim Urquhart
Enjoying the benefits of being uncorrelated to other currencies.
By Joon Ian Wong
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Global currency markets are a sea of red in the wake of this morning’s shock Brexit news. The pound is down 6.44% against the euro and weakened 10% against the dollar. But one currency–or more accurately, cryptocurrency–is surging: Bitcoin is up 7% in the last seven hours of trading, adding gains to a rally that started as the UK went to the polls yesterday (June 23).

Bitcoin was actually slumping after a bull run that started in mid-May and had put the digital currency at a two-year high. That changed around 3pm UK time on the day of the referendum. Bitcoin has gained 20% in value over the last 24 hours of trading.

Bitcoin boosters are celebrating, viewing the currency’s climb as a flight to safety by investors. Barry Silbert, a prolific investor in bitcoin and cryptocurrency startups through his firm Digital Currency Group, was among the first to point this out:

Silbert might be leaping to conclusions. All the bitcoin in circulation today is worth about $10.6 billion, a tiny amount compared to the trillions of dollars worth that are traded on the foreign exchange markets daily. But it’s clear that as investors rushed to buy traditional flight-to-safety assets like US treasuries and gold when the referendum’s results came in, bitcoin was right there, rising in lockstep alongside them.

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