The world’s first bitcoin retail store opened in Hong Kong on Friday, despite the virtual currency facing much scrutiny over the last week.
On Friday, a Japanese based bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy protection as one minister called the collapse of the virtual currency inevitable and Vietnam banned its use overnight.
However, the CEO of ANXBTC, the exchange behind the store, said on Friday that he believes an actual store will help break down some of the barriers to people adopting the virtual currency.
“We are hoping to open a retail outlet like this which is going to help ease and lower some of those barriers,” said Ken Lo on Friday.
However, one analyst warned that recent speculation of the digital currency could mean future volatility.
“Bitcoin will either be worth a lot of money or a very little amount of money in the future,” said Zennon Kapron, Managing Director of Asian financial consultancy firm Kapronasia.
He added: “People have speculated on the currency and seen it more as an investment rather than a payment tool.”
The opening of the store came as the CEO of Tokyo based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange held a news conference in Japan admitting severe problems with their system.
The exchange filed for bankruptcy protection, acknowledging that a significant amount of the virtual currency had gone missing.
Boosters of the online currency say cryptography makes it immune to theft or counterfeiting.
The exchange had suspended all trading and its website went blank early in the week, sparking speculation that it had collapsed amid suggestions it had suffered a catastrophic theft.
Bitcoin, created in 2009, is an online currency that allows people to make transactions without involving third parties such as banks or credit card issuers.
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