The 21-Day Bitcoin Challenge: Can you Survive on Nothing but Cryptocurrencies in China?
A Chinese Bitcoin enthusiast is currently filming her attempt to survive 21 days by living on nothing but bitcoin. A recent documentary shows her trying to retrieve food, housing, and necessities all through cryptocurrency transactions done on her phone. The cryptographic adventure is airing on iQiyi, China’s Netflix equivalent, TechCrunch reported on September 17.
Social Experiment Amidst a Government Crackdown
He You Bing is currently attempting to survive 21 days by merely living on 0.21 bitcoin, or $1,300, without any help or donations.
According to a TechCrunch report from September 17, Bing has to retrieve food, housing, and basic necessities in some of China’s largest cities, all through bitcoin transactions done on her phone.
Bing’s attempt to bring more awareness to the issue comes amidst increased government pressure on cryptocurrencies. September has been a particularly tough month for the crypto industry in China, as there have been numerous reports of China’s crypto bans – including Beijing and Shenzhen banning public cryptocurrency-related speeches, events, or activities, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The purported ban included dozens of WeChat media accounts that promoted cryptocurrencies, which have all been permanently blocked. Beijing authorities have also blocked access to over 120 offshore exchanges in the mainland just after banning large crypto purchases through Alipay and WeChat.
Can You Thrive on Bitcoin Alone?
Bing’s daily vlog shows her running around asking different business vendors whether they accept bitcoin. According to TechCrunch, Bing immediately encountered roadblocks as people were either ignorant or distrustful of cryptocurrencies.
The first few days of the challenge saw Bing sleeping in a 24-hour McDonald’s, foraging for food and ultimately landing in a hospital due to exhaustion.
However, increased media coverage helped Bing gather more supporters, who offered to exchange bitcoin with her. While some helped her find restaurants that accepted crypto payments, others were willing to book a hotel for her via cryptocurrencies.
Gradually, Bing’s bitcoin challenge managed to start a small movement on WeChat, showing that bitcoin is alive and well in China within digital communities, albeit not prevalent in the physical world.
While her story is still not over, the documentary has earned serious media attention in China, and companies and institutions have asked to donate and sponsor the filmmakers.
Despite the media coverage and the fact that Bitcoin now makes up more than 56 percent of the total cryptocurrency market cap, Bing still gets people suspecting that she is trying to scam them.
The overwhelmingly negative sentiment felt towards cryptocurrencies in China comes from an incredibly high number of scam coins that have popped up in the past few years. One of the purposes of Beijing’s ban on commercial venues hosting cryptocurrency events was aimed at purging coins from scamming the public.