In China, little is what it appears. The vast land of skyscrapers and high speed trains also has unpaved villages and of course actual ninjas.
The censored internet can also be an oasis of free speech. The great firewall can also be non-existent. The controlled populace can also be not really controlled at all. The land of the unfree is often quite free.
To understand what’s going on there from afar is difficult, but there are hints. First, what is said officially is not necessarily official. Second, although their system is different, it is not actually that different.
Like everywhere the Chinese people want the same things. Peace, prosperity, innovation, advancement, love, dreams, and fulfillment.
Like everywhere the Chinese government wants the same thing. To facilitate the above, while also maintaining order.
Like everywhere, the Chinese citizenry and the Chinese government are in constant tension, and like everywhere, both give and take.
There’s a movement globally by millennials to peacefully change the world and make it better through the utilization of new technology and capabilities.
There are many strands to it, but there’s a race of sorts within the generation itself between two “factions.” The… “angry men,” which in many places has taken to the streets, and the… “techies” we can call them, who would like change but orderly change, consensual, through persuasion and through providing solutions.
Neither is quite a group, neither is really controllable, neither is organized or coordinated, neither is a new phenomena as that same race has been going on for centuries, but both are forces shaping the world.
For the techies, there are many frontlines, but bitcoin is arguably the main current one. That’s because its invention, and the blockchain behind it, touches on many things and because it’s a very peaceful tool, it’s just code that people can freely choose to use or not use as they please without encroaching on anyone.
Yet for the older generation all these new things and new ways of doing stuff is a bit annoying. They have to look at all these processes again now, all these laws and everything, urgh… can’t these kids just do things the way we used to… why change, it all works fine!
That older generation is giving way to the new one, so what they say matters less and less, but of course they have the ear as often they are right. It just so happens sometime they are wrong, and sometime when they are wrong they don’t quite hear the reasons for why they might be mistaken.
China, The Frontline
The millennial generation is unique for one reason: they grew up during the great peace of the 90s.
To describe it is difficult, but there was a great sense of optimism, the upholding of fine principles, a general sense of considerable advancement both technologically and socially. They won’t give that up easily.
For China where bitcoin is concerned there was a mini-90s of sorts between 2013 and 2017 when they were largely free to participate in the crypto economy and did participate with gusto.
We looked at China, and they looked at us, and so was created a global ecosystem that gave many of the best an outlet where to exercise their talents.
The decision by the Chinese central bank in September 2017 to shut down crypto exchanges took many by surprise.
The ruling class in China, however, never passed an actual law and generally we suspect they tried to limit the central banks’ over-reach.
That there has been a mini-power struggle or a difference of ideas is quite obvious, with the prime example being some diktats that came now and then to kick miners out, yet they never did anything.
That enforcement was lax is also somewhat obvious. Pictures of outlets accepting bitcoin show as much.
That China never really left the scene is obvious too. The crypto space has arguably never been bigger in the middle kingdom. The question is: did our side win the debate?
The Chinese Titans
Justin Sun recently revealed he led the acquisition of Poloniex, once the biggest crypto only exchange.
The son of China is often dismissed in this space, but he is still young and very rich and you’d think quite smart.
What he really plans to do with Poloniex is not clear. He gave the usual bigger, faster, better, but for which market?
Poloniex banned the US upon acquisition, presumably to get SEC off their jurisdiction. What’s next maybe is a bit predictable for if China is good at one thing, it is at copying. In this case perhaps Binance.
Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s founder, has played a very complex jurisdictional game and has largely played it well, with the reward a $3 billion market cap for the Binance token (BNB).
That’s pretty much a share, without voting rights but with rights to a share of the profits.
Huobi followed this share token model, and perhaps Poloniex will too eventually, or might not.
Binance in turn copied Huoib/OKex, launching recently an Over the Counter (OTC) market place for the Chinese market.
Poloniex may well do the same eventually, or might not, but the “official” Chinese response was to issue yet another communique about looking out for crypto exchanges in the country to report them.
That suggests that there are crypto exchanges in the country, with a peculiar deadline of 22nd November given.
To make sense of this communique is not easy, unless you consider a potential ongoing debate within the civil service or maybe even within the ruling class.
In that instance, such communique would make sense to push one side of the debate, but that there is a debate at all to the point such communique would be needed is very interesting.
It could of course be a more silly propaganda communique to say cryptos bad, but why 22nd of November?
Chinese bitcoiners seem to think there’s no chance crypto exchanges will open any time soon, but we sense some sort of further laxing of restrictions.
We could be wrong, it is speculation and perhaps even wishful thinking that with a trade deal that west-east bond can be renewed, with cryptos arguably at the forefront of it in many ways.
Not least because the Chinese ruling class has children too, and many of them millennials, and presumably quite a few of them cryptonians. So it may be that slowly we are winning the debate, but whether that is the case time will tell.
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