It's been a year since China banned Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the populous country of 1.4 billion. The government isn't relenting in its anti-crypto drive, either. It's continuing to thwart initiatives involving digital coins because of crypto's threat to China's economic stability, even as Beijing embraces blockchain and fintech.
A new documentary titled "Bitcoin Girl" starring a young woman named He Youbing shows the difficulties of using Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in practical daily life. One question that comes to mind is, "Is 'Bitcoin Girl truly an independent production or propaganda?" The multi-episode series is found on streaming video service iQiyi and published by cryptocurrency enthusiasts Team 1234.
Bitcoin Worth $1,400
He Youbing ran a 21-day experiment trying to exclusively pay in $1,400 worth of Bitcoin for all her expenses. Her three-week journey involved trips to Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
At almost every turn, she had a difficult time resulting in a clear message: If you want to survive, use the local currency. Restaurants and shop owners — perhaps acting out of fear of government repercussions — told the crypto protagonist that they didn’t understand what Bitcoin is.
Unable to pay for a hotel using BTC, He Youbing is shown (or portrayed) sleeping at a McDonald's restaurant. Unable to buy food, she was brought to a hospital. Luckily, she was eventually able to buy some snacks through a chat group, and sold a modest amount of Bitcoin to a yoga teacher giving Youbing some needed cash.
Last month, financial officials issued a notice to Beijing establishments telling them not to host crypto-related events. Officials have also recently banned crypto-related public accounts on social media including messaging app WeChat.
The Chinese are quick to adopt fintech, as evidenced by the exploding use of mobile payments in an increasingly cashless society. It's also a reason why Beijing thinks Bitcoin could destabilize the nation's monetary system by competing with a devaluing Yuan. A study by accounting firm EY ranks Chinese consumers first in fintech use compared to citizens of 19 other major economies. Beneath the surface, there's great desire for monetary freedom and wealth preservation inside a jurisdiction that imposes restrictive capital controls.
The same EY survey finds that 83% of Chinese consumers make payments or money transfers on their phones while 58% of respondents said they use fintech platforms for savings and investments. Also, 46% used fintech to borrow money.
"As governments around the world contemplate how to deal with and tax Bitcoin, the digital cash's users grow each day," said American economist Jeffrey Tucker in a 2017 interview with this writer. "Bureaucrats aren't necessarily known for smart policies or effective enforcement so it remains to be seen if they can wrap their heads around one of the most important innovations in decades."
Articles by Marvin Dumont:
65% Of Firms Prefer IBM Blockchain Over Microsoft, Others
BMW To Test Blockchain And Smart Contracts To Simplify Car Buying
Samsung Blockchain To Help Korea Gov’t Improve Services
$1.7B Retailer Overstock To Sell Bitcoin And Cryptos
$1 Trillion Boost In Trade Finance Via Blockchain: World Economic Forum