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China's Xi hates Bitcoin, but not blockchain

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

China had a short, whirlwind relationship with Bitcoin before unceremoniously dumping it last September. Now, President Xi Jinping calls the underlying blockchain technology a "breakthrough."

What's going on: Xi is differentiating between cryptocurrencies and blockchain. In his view, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could fuel financial risk and even jeopardize Communist Party authority. But in blockchain, he sees something he cherishes — even greater government control.