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Author Topic: How big is Bitcoin's presence in China?  (Read 6563 times)
Seal
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February 29, 2012, 11:44:16 PM
 #21

With the US deficit not shrinking any time soon, China looks like its going to becoming one of the world's most important economies. How big is bitcoin in China?

The volume pie chart on Bitcoincharts doesnt show CNY, but given that the country has heaps of rich folk now... this cant be right!?

With China having roots in communism and the state wanting to control everything, bitcoin in theory (being both anonymous and decentralized) would be very valuable to them.

In reality, the Chinese government is insanely afraid of the circulation of non-fiat currencies. Fundraising and financial companies in China are also highly regulated. An enterpreneur had just been sentenced to death just because she promised a high interest rate to her loaners(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Ying). This is why services like Bitcoinica wouldn't exist in China for at least a while.

... but thats the beauty of bitcoin, aren't those the exact same reasons why it would flourish? With all the government regulation, bitcoin's anonymity would benefit its users.

How much is the CNY regulated? Maybe bitcoin isnt popular there as the CNY is so unregulated that theres no reason to have an anonymous payment system. Although, I'm sure some would still be interested in mining.

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There are several different types of Bitcoin clients. The most secure are full nodes like Bitcoin-Qt, but full nodes are more resource-heavy, and they must do a lengthy initial syncing process. As a result, lightweight clients with somewhat less security are commonly used.
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March 01, 2012, 04:52:48 AM
 #22

Without a doubt "cash is king" in PRC (you see people going in and out of the banks with hundreds of thousands of RMB in bags daily) and the amount of tax paid by most is very little (if any at all). They also have anonymous shopping center "smart cards" which are often traded and can sometimes contain tens of thousands of RMB per card.

Understand that also the cost of banking (in terms of fees) is virtually zero and the cost of making internet purchases on taobao is completely fee free (with the ability to send back or get refunds) so for the vast majority there is really nothing to be gained from Bitcoin apart from perhaps escaping inflation.

I do think that Bitcoin mining is something some internet savvy Chinese would be doing as it is quite likely that they may have access to "free electricity". Smiley

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March 01, 2012, 06:49:24 AM
 #23

With the US deficit not shrinking any time soon, China looks like its going to becoming one of the world's most important economies. How big is bitcoin in China?

The volume pie chart on Bitcoincharts doesnt show CNY, but given that the country has heaps of rich folk now... this cant be right!?

With China having roots in communism and the state wanting to control everything, bitcoin in theory (being both anonymous and decentralized) would be very valuable to them.

In reality, the Chinese government is insanely afraid of the circulation of non-fiat currencies. Fundraising and financial companies in China are also highly regulated. An enterpreneur had just been sentenced to death just because she promised a high interest rate to her loaners(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Ying). This is why services like Bitcoinica wouldn't exist in China for at least a while.

From the link, it looks like she did more than promise high interest... Half the money was missing by the time they arrested her.  The death penalty is a bit steep, but she was guilty (and plead as such) of more than offering good interest rates.

I'm sorry the best English material I could provide is the wiki page. This link plays "neutral" by mixing the Chinese government's opinion into it. There are tons of articles and evidences in Chinese to argue for her innocence.

Most of people in China, including her loaners, don't believe she's guilty. The state machine's conclusion, that she had no ability to pay back in the future, from the fact that half the money was missing, was arbitrary. And more importantly, the whole dispute was a topic of civil law. She should by no means have been considered as a criminal anyway.

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March 01, 2012, 06:56:15 AM
 #24

Without a doubt "cash is king" in PRC (you see people going in and out of the banks with hundreds of thousands of RMB in bags daily) and the amount of tax paid by most is very little (if any at all). They also have anonymous shopping center "smart cards" which are often traded and can sometimes contain tens of thousands of RMB per card.

Understand that also the cost of banking (in terms of fees) is virtually zero and the cost of making internet purchases on taobao is completely fee free (with the ability to send back or get refunds) so for the vast majority there is really nothing to be gained from Bitcoin apart from perhaps escaping inflation.

I do think that Bitcoin mining is something some internet savvy Chinese would be doing as it is quite likely that they may have access to "free electricity". Smiley


The amount of tax paid by companies is very high, including the Enterprise Income Tax (as high as 25%), and the VAT (normally 17%). The personal income tax (progressive, the maximum cap is 45%) is also pre-paid before one gets her salary. There are surely many places where people could benefit from Bitcoin.

The cost of banking is also not zero, and invoked quite a lot of complaints in the last several years. If your account is opened in city A and you want to withdraw cash in city B, you might probably pay fees (in my experience, around 0.5%). The transaction fee between different banks is also non-neglectable.

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March 01, 2012, 07:13:05 AM
 #25

Large multinationals might pay a lot of tax but most small businesses do not (ever been asked "xu yao fa piao ma?").

It is very common for an employee's salary to be officially listed as 3,500 RMB per month (no tax due on that) and then to receive an annual (or sometimes monthly) bonus in the form of either cash or stored value cards (which are anonymous for values at least up to 100,000 RMB).

Also bear in mind the very vast majority of Chinese do not work for companies at all (they work in the farms and get paid cash in hand).

Moving cash between banks can be a pain so in fact for large amounts the RMB is often physically transferred but also if you are able to find a branch of one cities local bank in another city the transfer is often free (and btw the 0.5% applies only up to a max of 50 RMB so for very large amounts it can effectively almost nothing).

I'm not saying there is no use for Bitcoin in PRC but quite a few of the commonly listed "use cases" that are very applicable to westerners (such as credit card or Paypal fees) are just not applicable in China.


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March 01, 2012, 07:37:46 AM
 #26

Large multinationals might pay a lot of tax but most small businesses do not (ever been asked "xu yao fa piao ma?").

It is very common for an employee's salary to be officially listed as 3,500 RMB per month (no tax due on that) and then to receive an annual (or sometimes monthly) bonus in the form of either cash or stored value cards (which are anonymous for values at least up to 100,000 RMB).

Also bear in mind the very vast majority of Chinese do not work for companies at all (they work in the farms and get paid cash in hand).

Moving cash between banks can be a pain so in fact for large amounts they are often physically carried and if to another city then by train (so cost of train tickets).

I'm not saying there is no use for Bitcoin in PRC but quite a few of the commonly listed "use cases" that are very applicable to westerners (such as credit card or Paypal fees) are just not applicable in China.



Evading tax by faking vouchers is not without risk. The local government may randomly punish some of them to frighten the rest.

I mostly agree with you though, especially for your last paragraph. BTW how many years have you been in China? It is very uncommon for a westerner to know so many details that are more or less "underground".  Grin

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March 01, 2012, 07:41:29 AM
 #27

Evading tax by faking vouchers is not without risk. The local government may randomly punish some of them to frighten the rest.

True but for sure it is still very common (the stored value card business is still going strong I believe).

I mostly agree with you though, especially for your last paragraph. BTW how many years have you been in China? It is very uncommon for a westerner to know so many details that are more or less "underground".  Grin

Have been here over 5 years now and my wife is Chinese. Smiley

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March 01, 2012, 08:05:17 AM
 #28

Evading tax by faking vouchers is not without risk. The local government may randomly punish some of them to frighten the rest.

True but for sure it is still very common (the stored value card business is still going strong I believe).

I mostly agree with you though, especially for your last paragraph. BTW how many years have you been in China? It is very uncommon for a westerner to know so many details that are more or less "underground".  Grin

Have been here over 5 years now and my wife is Chinese. Smiley


5 years is indeed a long time. It's even enough for you to learn to understand most of the online Chinese materials. Smiley

In the short term, I think, geeks and speculators would be the first ones who are attracted to Bitcoin in China, just like any other places of the world.

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March 01, 2012, 08:11:19 AM
 #29

In the short term, I think, geeks and speculators would be the first ones who are attracted to Bitcoin in China, just like any other places of the world.

Very true - also I wouldn't be surprised at all if computers at some "wang ba's" (internet cafe/bars that are popular for gaming) are mining like crazy when not being used by customers (or perhaps even used by customers to do so).

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March 01, 2012, 08:20:12 AM
 #30

In the short term, I think, geeks and speculators would be the first ones who are attracted to Bitcoin in China, just like any other places of the world.

Very true - also I wouldn't be surprised at all if computers at some "wang ba's" (internet cafe/bars that are popular for gaming) are mining like crazy when not being used by customers (or perhaps even used by customers to do so).


I could confirm this. Some of the miners I know are owners of internet bars. The rest of miners fall into these three categories.

1. Employees of government offices, who have access to free computers and free electricity.
2. Former professional wireless password crackers re-using their existing GPUs.
3. Serious miners (>10G) paying for their own electricity, most of which entered mining in the last June.

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March 01, 2012, 08:46:57 AM
 #31

I'm sorry the best English material I could provide is the wiki page. This link plays "neutral" by mixing the Chinese government's opinion into it. There are tons of articles and evidences in Chinese to argue for her innocence.

Most of people in China, including her loaners, don't believe she's guilty. The state machine's conclusion, that she had no ability to pay back in the future, from the fact that half the money was missing, was arbitrary. And more importantly, the whole dispute was a topic of civil law. She should by no means have been considered as a criminal anyway.

Thank you for the clarification.

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March 01, 2012, 12:14:56 PM
 #32

Evading tax by faking vouchers is not without risk. The local government may randomly punish some of them to frighten the rest.

True but for sure it is still very common (the stored value card business is still going strong I believe).

I mostly agree with you though, especially for your last paragraph. BTW how many years have you been in China? It is very uncommon for a westerner to know so many details that are more or less "underground".  Grin

Have been here over 5 years now and my wife is Chinese. Smiley


5 years is indeed a long time. It's even enough for you to learn to understand most of the online Chinese materials. Smiley

In the short term, I think, geeks and speculators would be the first ones who are attracted to Bitcoin in China, just like any other places of the world.

As you're both in China, I'll leave it to you to promote Bitcoin there Smiley !!

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March 02, 2012, 03:28:44 AM
 #33

I think the precondition of this post is wrong, China can only be the fake big economy in this world, and the gov can ban bitcoin with only a few words, there are no liberty and humen rights.

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March 04, 2012, 11:23:50 AM
 #34

I was speaking to a young guy in china who just spent 1 month in jail - for having a completely non-political text chat with someone in Tibet.
I tend to believe it - from my chats with this Chinese guy - he's pretty apathetic about politics. (though perhaps one 'has' to appear disinterested in politics there to stay out of trouble??)

The person he was chatting to happened to be a member of some group the government doesn't like.

The government just needs to lock a few people up like that for a 'short' time - with no recourse, no appeal - and the message gets out about what not to do.
With consequences like that for ordinary Chinese - who would risk running a bitcoin program if the government tells them not to?  Very few I'd guess.


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March 05, 2012, 08:41:18 AM
 #35

I was speaking to a young guy in china who just spent 1 month in jail - for having a completely non-political text chat with someone in Tibet.
I tend to believe it - from my chats with this Chinese guy - he's pretty apathetic about politics. (though perhaps one 'has' to appear disinterested in politics there to stay out of trouble??)

The person he was chatting to happened to be a member of some group the government doesn't like.

The government just needs to lock a few people up like that for a 'short' time - with no recourse, no appeal - and the message gets out about what not to do.
With consequences like that for ordinary Chinese - who would risk running a bitcoin program if the government tells them not to?  Very few I'd guess.



Keep in mind this could be a story from any force-imposed tax regime in the world.  The psychology is the same.  As long as we give guns and uniforms to a few people and let them decide to lock us up and take our possessions for no reason, they will eventually do so.  Sadly there are far more political prisoners in the USA, for example. 
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March 05, 2012, 01:19:53 PM
 #36

As usual, professional miners will move some operations into china due to lower manufacturing cost of FPGA miners, but not the mining operation, since if their police try to ban the BTC related traffic on internet, that will be done quickly

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March 05, 2012, 05:09:00 PM
 #37

Goole's results of regional interest for the search term Bitcoin

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=bitcoin&date=today%2012-m&cmpt=q

Search volume index - see world map

China:            25
Viet Nam:       15
Japan:            6
Taiwan:          0
Thailand:        0
South Korea:   0

China shows the most interest of the Asian countries
I was surprised that S. Korea didn't register more interest being all high tech & stuff

No interest from any Arabic countries as yet - PetroBitcoins  Tongue

Argentina: 19 the highest from South America - they've just slapped on a bunch of monetary restrictions for their Peso




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March 05, 2012, 08:57:56 PM
 #38

Goole's results of regional interest for the search term Bitcoin

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=bitcoin&date=today%2012-m&cmpt=q

Search volume index - see world map

China:            25
Viet Nam:       15
Japan:            6
Taiwan:          0
Thailand:        0
South Korea:   0

China shows the most interest of the Asian countries
I was surprised that S. Korea didn't register more interest being all high tech & stuff

No interest from any Arabic countries as yet - PetroBitcoins  Tongue

Argentina: 19 the highest from South America - they've just slapped on a bunch of monetary restrictions for their Peso





I thought Google left or was booted from China  Huh

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March 05, 2012, 09:11:42 PM
 #39

Goole's results of regional interest for the search term Bitcoin

http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=bitcoin&date=today%2012-m&cmpt=q

Search volume index - see world map

China:            25
Viet Nam:       15
Japan:            6
Taiwan:          0
Thailand:        0
South Korea:   0

China shows the most interest of the Asian countries
I was surprised that S. Korea didn't register more interest being all high tech & stuff

No interest from any Arabic countries as yet - PetroBitcoins  Tongue

Argentina: 19 the highest from South America - they've just slapped on a bunch of monetary restrictions for their Peso


South Korea has a lot of gamers, lots of gfx cards to exploit there I'd imagine Smiley

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March 06, 2012, 12:54:55 AM
 #40

I thought Google left or was booted from China  Huh

Indeed they left but when they did they had redirected searches to google.com.hk (although it often doesn't work or doesn't work very well).

I think that baidu.com would be the main search engine used by Chinese nowadays.

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