There’s no doubting the Bank of China’s favorable stance on bitcoin: Yesterday, it posted an infographic on its website, explaining how cryptocurrency works, its uses and value.
Until recently, China has come down hard on cryptocurrencies, which are banned. Yet, one of its four biggest, state-owned commercial banks is—apparently—promoting bitcoin.
Not to be confused with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC)—which is the central regulatory authority for financial institutions and drafts the country’s monetary policy—the more liberal Bank of China, which has outlets all over the world, uses humor in its new infographic to provide a balanced picture of bitcoin’s pluses and minuses for its customers.
Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun—one of China’s most successful crypto entrepreneurs—even pops up on the second screen, declaring “The biggest problem is too much money!” Does the Bank of China even know that he’s on the authorities’ most wanted list, and subject to a “border control” order?
Though Sun is countered with an image of a Chinese crypto trader who committed suicide, after losing 2000 bitcoin, the rest of the infographic paints a more appealing picture of bitcoin. It goes on to describe the characteristics of bitcoin: its decentralized nature, price fluctuations and anonymity. It adds that bitcoin is hard to fake, and that its tax status is questionable.
Then we delve into the history, from the publication of the bitcoin white paper, and via the first pizza purchased for bitcoin and the Mt Gox hack to the announcement of Facebook’s Libra coin.
Part 2, deals with bitcoin’s volatility, scarcity and hash rate. Notably, we’re given an example of how Zimbabweans are using bitcoin as a safe haven to shield them from hyperinflation.
And Part 3 looks at the present day—the accessibility of bitcoin ATMs, and the development of payment networks and attractive low-fee, cross-border payment solutions that some of the world’s leading institutions are working on.
The doubters and detractors —investors Ray Dalio, Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffet—get to spit their bitcoin poison, but are portrayed as ignoramuses and balanced by Li Xiaolai (China’s biggest Bitcoin hodler) lighting a cigarette with a fiat note.
It all ends by cautioning users about speculative investment. But Chinese-speaking twitter users said the message imparted was overwhelmingly positive.
The Bank’s infographic isn’t the only sign that China is softening its hardline stance toward cryptocurrencies, and preparing the ground to develop its own.
Earlier this month, Decrypt reported that the PBoC had redoubled its efforts to produce a Chinese cryptocurrency—in the light of the risk posed to the country’s financial system by Facebook’s newly announced Libra coin.
On Thursday, Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, became the latest Chinese tech luminary to speak up for the innovation.