In the aftermath ofrestrictions from the People’s Bank, many outsiders are wondering what it’slike to use Bitcoin in China now.
The atmosphere inChina at present is extremely hostile for many aspects of Bitcoin. Exchangesare notably feeling pressure, with some even closing in light of bankingauthorities recently ‘reaffirming’ their stance towards cryptocurrency, onewhich could be called ‘critical’ at best.
However, beneath thesurface lies a somewhat different scene, set apart from the turmoil of thelegislation. For consumers, it is definitely fair to say that “Bitcoin is not dead in China” – toquote BTC China CEO Bobby Lee in an interview last month.
A cursory glance atCoinMap brings up a barren landscape for Chinese Bitcoin. Currently listed arefour Bitcoin-accepting outlets in Shanghai, three in Beijing and a scatteringof others across the country, bringing the total to 14 (not including HongKong, which has 21 outlets on CoinMap).
Unsurprising perhaps,although this is not to say that the scene is dying out altogether. Aninteresting offering not listed on CoinMap is expat website IWannaBuy, which provides foreign residents withpollution masks and various other atmosphere-improving products.
“BitCoin payment isn’t a new thing,” its news regarding Bitcoin states, “but we damn sure like the idea of easyonline payment, and supporting a great innovation.” The company also shipsto Hong Kong.
Other thanconsumer-oriented products, the Bitcoin mining industry in China has comethrough recent months mostly unscathed. Sites such as Bitjishi.com offer a comprehensive array of hardware, whilethere is even a Bitcoin directory, BTC123.com, listing both consumer and technologicalproviders.
A recent Russianarticle highlighted the phenomenon of Chinese numeric website addresses, withcertain numbers sounding like the words they represent, or having othersignificance. The number 5, it says, “inChinese is pronounced ‘woo’. It issimilar in sound to the word ‘in’, which means ‘I’. 1 pronounced ‘yao’ with achange in tone would mean ‘want’. Therefore, 51job.com means ‘I want (to find)a job.’”
The classic ‘lucky’status of the number 8 also benefits Bitcoin, it would seem, with onlineBitcoin magazine Babbit reachable under the domain name 8btc.com.
User reports providecontinued proof that Bitcoin in China is not only still alive and kicking, butstill has practical uses. Reddit user u/robertsieg recently supplied a detailed overview of his experience of using Bitcoin in thecountry, explaining “how BTC makes mylife easier in China and why I think it might really catch on with the other21M foreigners who come here every year.”
The user highlightsthe continued ease of sending international payments between BTC China andCoinbase accounts, for example, while also remaining cautiously optimisticregarding consumer services.
“In any case, purchasing with RMB is a littlebit of a hassle because many online merchants require Chinese IDs. I think BTCcan get around that and give merchants confidence in doing business withforeigners,” he writes, addingthat “I’m not sure, but I think it’spossible we will see major Chinese retailers accept BTC for payments again.”
Merchants themselves,furthermore, are no more averse to Bitcoin than previously, Marshall Hayner ofQuickCoin told Cointelegraph. “I thinkthe majority of Chinese merchant concern is keeping stability within theirbusiness,” he said, “Many businessesare open to the idea of accepting Bitcoin but not at the cost of becoming de-banked.”If the situation among merchants, and henceBitcoin exposure to consumers, boils down to a tense ‘in limbo’ effect whilethe PBOC eyes its development, this could well be a blessing in disguise. Interms of reputation, all is not lost.