Bitcoins Donated in China Earthquake

On April 20th 2013 China’s Sichuan Province was hit by an earthquake in Lushan County, Ya’an not too far from the epicentre of the last major earthquake in 2008. Donations were received by many organisations in hope that the funds would support the local population with disaster recovery and reconstruction.

Hao Qingchuan, Director of the One Foundation (Yi jijin) reached out to the tech community in China by welcoming donations in the internet currency Bitcoins (BTC). According to Hao Qingchuan’s sina weibo account the One Foundation created an address to which bitcoin holders could donate their Bitcoins. On the day following the quake they had already received 50 Bitcoins with a total market value of around US$6250 (based on April 21st prices).

Despite the small amount of money raised, it is the first time in China that any charity has offered to receive donations in Bitcoin and serves as an example to the growing interest in Bitcoin among Chinese netizens.

Recently China Central Television News programme Economy Half Hour (jingji banxiaoshi) produced a report on bitcoin in China which detailed the rising popularity of the digital currency. According to The Economic Observer Bitcoin enthusiasts in China refer to themselves as BTCers and Li Xiaolai who apparently holds the largest stockpile of bitcoins in the PRC describes Bitcoins as the “most stunning and most subversive social experiment in history.”

Quartz magazine believes that China is the next bull market for Bitcoin as it allows Chinese people to evade controls on foreign exchange and feel protected by its decentralised nature which the Chinese government cannot do much about. As the infographic above demonstrates, there are many things that Chinese BTCers could chose to buy with Bitcoin.

About the Author

Thomas is a pentalingual graduate of Modern East Asian Studies from the University of Hong Kong, now based in Japan as editor of for Mandalah Tokyo.