Chinese investors remain resolute in their pursuit of Bitcoin, despite the government’s ban since 2021. Bitcoin continues to attract substantial investment from Chinese capital, as Reuters reports today.
Mainland China Is Still Buying Bitcoin
Dylan Run, a finance executive in Shanghai, epitomizes this trend. Concerned about China’s economic outlook and the sluggish domestic stock market, Run ventured into Bitcoin in early 2023.
As detailed in the Reuters report, he employed an astute strategy, utilizing bank cards issued by rural banks and keeping each transaction below 50,000 yuan ($6,978) to evade regulatory scrutiny. In his view, “Bitcoin is a safe haven, like gold.” Run has now allocated nearly half of his investment portfolio to BTC, which has surged heavily, outperforming China’s ailing stock market.
Remarkably, Run’s journey reflects a broader movement among Chinese investors who are actively seeking unconventional pathways to access Bitcoin. The Reuters report highlights that Chinese Bitcoin investors operate within a regulatory gray area, as cryptocurrency trading is officially banned in mainland China, and strict controls govern capital flows across borders.
Despite these constraints, Chinese investors persist in trading Bitcoin on offshore exchanges such as OKX and Binance, or via over-the-counter channels. Additionally, as noted in the Reuters report, Chinese citizens have ingeniously leveraged their $50,000 annual foreign exchange purchase quotas, typically reserved for overseas travel or education, to fund BTC accounts in Hong Kong.
This phenomenon is driven by a growing appetite for diversification amid China’s economic uncertainties. One investor succinctly expressed the sentiment, stating, “Given the economic climate in China, exploring alternative investments like cryptocurrencies has become a necessity.”
Bitcoin, along with other digital assets, has emerged as a sanctuary for these investors as they navigate China’s complex economic landscape. Importantly, this trend extends beyond retail investors. Chinese financial institutions are also exploring opportunities within the cryptocurrency sector, as highlighted in the Reuters report.
An executive from a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange underscored the rationale, stating, “Faced with a sluggish stock market, weak demand for IPOs, and contraction in other businesses, Chinese brokerages need a compelling growth narrative for their shareholders and boards.”
Off-Shore Crypto Exchanges Facilitate Trading
As the report observes, access to Bitcoin remains relatively accessible within mainland China. Off-shore crypto exchanges like OKX and Binance continue to offer their services to Chinese investors, providing guidance on converting yuan into stablecoins through fintech platforms like Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay.
Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency data platform, shed light on the extent of this resilient activity. Contrary to the regulatory ban, the report reveals that crypto-related activities in China have surged.
China’s global ranking in terms of peer-to-peer trade volume skyrocketed from 144th in 2022 to 13th in 2023. Astonishingly, the Chinese crypto market recorded an estimated $86.4 billion in transaction volume between July 2022 and June 2023, far surpassing Hong Kong’s $64 billion in crypto trading. Notably, the proportion of large retail transactions, ranging from $10,000 to $1 million, nearly doubled the global average of 3.6%.
According to Chainalysis, the developments “have created speculation that the Chinese government may be warming to cryptocurrency and that Hong Kong may be a testing ground for these efforts.”
At press time, BTC traded at $40,268.