Chinese Aunties meet the FBI: Bitcoin in China

The expression 中国 大妈 literally translates as "Chinese auntie." The phenomenon of the zealous and thrifty Chinese middle-aged woman has been known for a long time, but only in the midst of 2013 was a neologism thought up for it.


At the height of the hysteria in November – December of last year, when the crypto-currency’s rate rose from US$200 to US$1200 within a month, the ‘Chinese auntie’ accounted for up to a quarter of the global turnover of Bitcoin. She was not mining coins, buying LSD on Silk Road or order murder from deep inside the Internet. She speculated and had fun. 

Rise of China’s beloved bubble 
Prior to 2013, Japanese scientists had invented semi-mythical Satoshi Nakamoto and the Bitcoin crypto-currency barely reached US$10 while interesting only a limited number of programmers from the U.S. and Europe. But everything changed in April. 
The Winklevoss brothers have finally admitted that they took Mark Zuckerberg's money that they won in court and invested US$11 million into Bitcoin, which increased its price and popularity in the previous months to reach the US$266 mark. 
Then, in late-April, it suddenly fell by two-thirds, but nonetheless had achieved greater prominence on the world stage. Just two weeks later there was a terrible earthquake in Sichuan and China learned about Bitcoin. 
A small community of crypto-currency users in eastern China - a couple of dozen people, mostly programmers and scientists - appeared in 2010. A year later came the first exchange BTC China. Bitcoin’s chief adopter in China was 40-year-old Beijing English teacher Li Xiaolai. 
He was captivated by the idea of a coin produced by performing mathematical operations and invested his savings in Bitcoin. Xiaolai subsequently became actively engaged in Mining and invested in Shenzhen startup ASICminer, producing equipment for mining Bitcoins. 
A year ago, Li Xiaolai was not all expensive apartments, cars and mountains of cash, but he did have 100,000 Bitcoins (like Winklevoss) and the belief that using a virtual currency can improve the world. Or at least put the Chinese economy on the road to post-industrialism. 
After the Sichuan earthquake Xiaolai helped raise funds for the victims in Bitcoin. Despite the fact that this campaign has brought only 1 % of the donations, Bitcoin was mentioned on Chinese state TV which set off a chain reaction. 
By the fall of 2013, China had become a major international Bitcoin market. BTC China accounted for up to 60 % of all transactions in crypto-currencies.