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Bitcoin surpasses Nasdaq as most-crowded trade: BOA poll

[NEW YORK] Chinese regulators aren't the only ones getting nervous about the astronomical rally in bitcoin.

Bullish bets on the cryptocurrency are now considered the most crowded trade in financial markets, according to fund managers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BOA). Some 26 per cent cited bitcoin, surpassing the 22 per cent who considered the most overheated wager to be the long trade on the Nasdaq Composite Index. Shorting the US dollar was third, at 21 per cent.

The cryptocurrency has risen more than four-fold this year amid greater acceptance of the blockchain technology that underpins the exchange method, global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia.

China plans to ban trading of bitcoin and other virtual currencies on domestic exchanges, Bloomberg News reported on Monday. The ban will only apply to the trading of cryptocurrencies on exchanges, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private. The authorities don't have plans to stop over-the-counter transactions, the people said.

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BOA's survey was conducted from Sept 1 through Sept 7 among money managers overseeing about US$629 billion in assets.