Demand surged for bitcoin as a safe haven from the British pound, which plummeted after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
The pound fell to its lowest in more than 30 years, driving demand for assets such as U.S. Treasuries and gold. Stocks and bonds also fell, amid concerns that the U.K.’s exit from the European Union could hurt the world’s economy. Bitcoin, a digital currency unconnected to any government or central bank, is often sought as a haven by holders of currencies that are declining, or that are not fully convertible, such as Chinese renminbi.
“A lot of people are buying Bitcoin for pounds and Euros,” said Jesse Powell, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Kraken, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange in euro volume. “Our volume has doubled over the last 24 hours. We saw a huge spike in that market. People are looking for a safe place to keep their money, amidst all of this uncertainty.”
Another bitcoin exchange, Gemini, which expanded into the U.K. on Tuesday, has “seen a lot of signups from U.K. residents since then,” the exchange said in an emailed statement. “We’ve been open for trading nonstop throughout the week, and are excited to help