Yesterday was day one of China’s first-ever Global Bitcoin Summit in Beijing. The summit comes during a rough patch for Bitcoin in China as eleven of the country’s major banks have ceased dealing with customers using the digital currency. Despite even more setbacks at the last minute, the summit is so far a success.
MAY 11, 2014
Chinese Bitcoin Summit a Success So Far
Yesterday was day one of China’s first-ever Global Bitcoin Summit in Beijing. Despite some setbacks both before the start and at the last minute, the summit is so far a success.
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The latest blowback for the summit came on May 7, when the China Digital Times published new censorship instructions published by Chinese government authorities. One of the instructions reads as such,
“(5) The Global Bitcoin Summit 2014 will be held on May 10-11 in Beijing. All websites are asked not to participate in or report on the summit. Do not hype bitcoins. All reporting on bitcoins must henceforth accord with the specifications of financial regulatory agencies. Please carry out the above immediately. (May 7, 2014)”
Furthermore, the five major Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges – BTC China, OKCoin, BtcTrade, Huobi, and CHBTC – all announced in a joint statement the day before the government warning that they would not participate in any large Bitcoin events and meetings.
The statement said that the five exchanges would comply with ““all state policies and regulations, promote transparency in exchange processes, pay a flat fee for high-frequency trades, and report the latest industry developments to authorities.”
As such, Bobby Lee of BTC China and Star Xu of OKCoin both withdrew their attendance at the summit on Saturday.
Despite the setbacks, reports of the summit have been positive. The number of attendees isn’t specified, with some reports indicating “some 200 virtual currency enthusiasts” to “several hundred people” attending the event.
Li Xiaoili, the venture capitalist who organized the event, showed a great deal of optimism for the future of Bitcoin in China, saying “"Thailand has already banned bitcoin, so has Russia. But who cares if China bans it as long as everyone knows the whole world can't ban it,"
Some attendees said how they expected the government to catch up to the Bitcoin phenomenon eventually, and even remain optimistic about it. Eric Gu of Shanghai-based Bit Angels Club, said
““I think the government was pretty good to the Bitcoiners in China — at the beginning. It was kind of too good. China has the biggest exchanges in the whole world. The rest of the world’s exchanges combined wouldn’t compare to one exchange in China. So, the Chinese government let Bitcoin grow wild. Now they feel, ‘Oh, let’s slow down a little bit.’”
Bitcoin Alliance of Canada executive director Anthony di Lorio voiced his opinion of bitcoiners in China:
“I think some of them are scared. But I mean, they’re just passionate about this amazing technology. … The space in general is growing rapidly. From what I’m hearing in China, I think there will be some breakthroughs.”
Gu added on that basically, the Bitcoin show ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings:
“For many of the top Bitcoiners in China … you wouldn’t dream something like this would happen — everybody you know online, they’re actually physically here. It’s amazing.”
The community further appears to agree that the fact that the event took place is a breakthrough in and of itself.