China has put the kibosh on the cool new way to sneak money out of the country: bitcoin. Reuters reports that the number of trades on three of China's most popular bitcoin exchanges plummeted from 13.8 million on January 5th to just more than 120,000 on February 9th. The government has achieved this in part by convincing the exchanges to charge a 0.2% fee on every transaction, a levy that may defeat the purpose of moving money in the first place.

Why it matters: A slower growing economy and an underdeveloped financial sector have left ordinary Chinese with few options to invest their substantial savings. To avoid rules against taking money out of the country, many Chinese have turned to bitcoin, and now we're seeing the government close down that avenue as well.

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Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.