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Hong Kong’s First Bitcoin Counter to Open in Money Exchange Shop

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s first bitcoin counter will open on Feb. 28 in a money exchange shop, allowing people to buy the virtual currency without going online.

ANX, the operator of an online bitcoin-trading platform, is setting up the counter at a Connaught Road West shop, about 2 kilometers from the city’s central business district. It would only take minutes to exchange Hong Kong dollars there for the virtual currency, said ANX Chief Executive Ken Lo.

“People came up to our office asking to deposit cash for bitcoin, so we decided to streamline the process,” Lo said in a phone interview. “It’s an extension to our online exchange business.” ANX will gauge market demand before deciding whether to open more counters in Hong Kong, he said.

The digital currency is trading at $625 on London-based Bitstamp. Bitcoin holders are offering the virtual money for $243 on Mt.Gox, down from more than $800 two weeks ago, after the Tokyo-based online exchange halted withdrawals this month.

India, China and Russia have sought to ban or limit the use of bitcoin, which exists as software and isn’t controlled by any authority.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fox Hu in Hong Kong at fhu7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net

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