With economic and geopolitical risks on the rise, bitcoin boosters are championing the ability of their crypto-currency, which hit an all-time high this week, to rival gold as a safe-haven play.

“When the existing money system has problems, people turn to bitcoin sort of like people used to go to gold in the old days,” Bobby Lee, co-founder and CEO of bitcoin exchange BTCC, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“Gold is very attractive in the old days. It’s something physical, tangible. It’s got this nice gold-color luster,” he said, but added, “You can’t actually buy and sell gold at night on your desk, at home. With bitcoin, you could do that. It trades 24/7.”

Bitcoin has been on a steady march higher for the past few months, hitting an all-time high this week. In early Asia trade on Thursday, bitcoin was trading around $1,131.17, slightly off the all-time high of $1,141.16, according to trading platform Coindesk.

It climbed 122 percent in 2016.

China and India both have been big buyers as part of a broader global landscape that has pushed bitcoin’s acceptance further along. Chinese investors have bought bitcoin as the yuan has lost its value and as policymakers sought to strengthen capital controls to make it more difficult to take funds out of the country.

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