A recent documentary show airing on iQiyi, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, shows how a Chinese Bitcoin enthusiast goes on a survival journey across 21 days in China with a mere BTC 0.21 (approximately USD 1,300) in her pocket. The ongoing series shows real insight into the cryptocurrency potential in China despite tough government attitudes towards it.
The woman, He You Bing, is taking on this challenge with no food supplies or even snacks. She has to eat, lodge and obtain basic necessities using Bitcoin reserves in her phone’s wallet. As part of the challenge, she can’t convert it to fiat for purchasing any amenities. While one may be inclined to think that USD 1,300 is too little to survive on while traveling and staying outside one’s home, the show seems to prove this is not so. Basic food is cheap in China while traveling and lodging can easily be managed in that amount but the trick is getting shopkeepers and retailers to accept Bitcoin.
The series takes viewers with her across a journey across major cities including Beijing and Shenzhen where anything related to Bitcoin is banned, even conferences. It reveals China’s vibrant online community with plenty of back-channel Bitcoin trading going and considerable awareness as well.
Her incredible journey shows how tough the challenge was, as she had to forage for food and pick fruits from public trees because of lack of acceptance of the cryptocurrency. After following her story online, several WeChat groups contacted her and offered her amenities in exchange for her Bitcoin. However, the rules were changed again and she could only transact her coins offline with actual people she meets.
The challenge shows that despite Bitcoin being widely accepted and easily used, it still has plenty of challenges on its way to become a universal cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are often talked as being the currencies of a cashless future because of their secure transactions and universal nature. But there are plenty of hurdles in their adoption as states and institutions feel threatened by their existence, with some choosing to ban them outright.
China is one of these countries that has placed a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in the country so naturally, the level of acceptance of Bitcoin is extremely low because of fears of getting on the wrong side of the law. China has even banned the domains for various cryptocurrency exchange websites across the country, even the ones based in Hong Kong, a district that is technically under its own control.
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