Believe it or not, China was once the de-facto capital of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The Asian nation, after all, is the home of Bitmain and other cryptocurrency startups and spawned a series of early cryptocurrency investors. To this day, it isn’t exactly clear why Chinese individuals adopted Bitcoin so quickly. Maybe it was the nation’s propensity for technological development, familiarity with digital cash, or the culture of speculation and gambling.
But, this changed in 2017 and 2018, when the local government began cracking down on the industry’s involvement in China, presumably due to the fact that it was getting too large, too quick. By now, the local government purportedly has bans on cryptocurrency trading, industry-related events in large cities, use of fintech applications in Bitcoin applications, and certain forums involving this nascent asset class.
However, this changed with the recent surge in the Bitcoin price. According to statistics from a number of sources, this industry is on the rise in China once again. Crazy, right?
Huge Chinese App Gives Bitcoin a Nod
Sina Finance may not ring a bell to you, the viewer. But to Chinese investors, it sure damn should. For those not versed in China’s online culture, Sina Finance is a major financial news and data provider owned by a major technology firm. It serves millions of investors and is reported by SimilarWeb to be one of the top 500 websites in China. According to cnLedger, a local source for Chinese cryptocurrency news, Sina recently added Bitcoin and cryptocurrency price feed data to its application.
Sina Finance, one of China's largest financial news providers, just added Bitcoin and Crypto-currency support to its app. pic.twitter.com/qS7VzNskim
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) July 3, 2019
Per cnLedger’s screenshot, the feed includes data for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP. According to local reports, this data is only available via Sina’s application, not through the website. It has also been reported that this new section on the Sina Finance application includes cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related news, but it isn’t too clear from what sources Sina is grabbing news events from.
Crypto on the Rise in China… Again
This comes as Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are on the rise in China once again. Per a separate tweet from cnLedger, a number of “online data service providers” suggest that a crypto asset-related app is trending on China’s iOS App Store. Exchange giant Huobi’s mobile application is now, according to the sources, the seventh largest keyword in the aforementioned marketplace. Considering that Apple sells some 40 million handhelds in China each year, this is quite the statistic.
This data point has been somewhat corroborated The Block’s Larry Cermark, who pointed out via Twitter that “Google searches” for exchanges that cater to Asian (mostly Chinese) demographics have seen an uptick in volume. So, while Binance, Coinbase, Bitfinex, and so on have seen little increase in volume, OkEX and Huobi have seen relative explosions.
Simultaneously, WeChat keyword analytics have accentuated a massive uptick in the volume of “Bitcoin”. In fact, the past ninety days have seen keyword volume for the Chinese term for “Bitcoin” skyrocket by five times.
There has been some speculation as to why this is occurring. As it stands, there are two primary theses: Chinese investors are looking to store their wealth in an alternative asset, just like other investors across the globe; and the launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency has sparked a new interest in Bitcoin and altcoins. The first makes sense, as there has been a push for Bitcoin’s viability as a store of value across the globe. And the second may make sense too, as Pony Ma, the founder of Chinese technology giant Tencent, and other technology tycoons have commented on the project.