Hundreds attend China’s first Bitcoin meet, defy government warning
BEIJING: Several hundred people attended China’s first Bitcoin summit here, defying the government’s crackdown on the digital currency. Venture capitalist Li Xiaolai, who organised the conference this weekend, dismissed the suggestion that Beijing would ultimately outlaw the use of digital currencies in the mainland.
“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,” Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Li as saying.
Since December, the People’s Bank of China has launched a series of crackdowns against the digital currency, discouraging banks and payment companies from dealing with money involved in Bitcoin trading.
The same month, Chinese police detained three people who allegedly operated an online Bitcoin trading platform and later vanished with the investors’ assets. Li denied that Bitcoin users felt intimidated by Chinese government and said Bitcoin posed no threat to Beijing.
However, the chance of the government implementing further measures aimed at disrupting the growth of Bitcoin in China forced the heads of the five largest Bitcoin businesses in China to skip the event.
Li, who in the past has said he owned a six-figure number of Bitcoins which would make him a multi-millionaire – declined to reveal his Bitcoin holding yesterday. He said he was pleased with the turnout, the report said.
“I’m glad to have an opportunity to introduce…the environment of Bitcoin in China. It is a very stunning innovation,” Li told attendees.
Among those who attended the meet was Zheng Qinen, 23, who quit his job in January despite receiving a “good” salary. He felt he could make money faster by working in the Bitcoin industry.
“I’m a Bitcoin believer, I believe in this technology, and I quit my job because I can’t help jumping into this new world. I know I can make a fortune,” Zheng said. He described the government’s crackdown as “reasonable and logical”. “If I was the Chinese government, I would do a similar thing. If there is no restriction – if Beijing doesn’t say it is a risky thing, or give warning – then lots of people will lose their money,” he said
Zheng did not rule out the possibility of the mainland eventually banning Bitcoin. “It might not happen this year but it could happen someday. It’s a challenge to the traditional structure of government,” he said. Analysts say Chinese investors plush with money want new avenues to invest after the government brought about stringent rules to limit investments in real estate