Hundreds Attend China’s First Bitcoin Summit, Defying Beijing’s Warning

Several hundred people defied the central government’s bitcoin crackdown by attending China’s first bitcoin summit in Beijing this weekend.

Photo: Anthony Di Lorio/Twitter

Photo: Anthony Di Lorio/Twitter

Despite the central government’s bitcoin crackdown and all the media warnings that were aimed to scare Chinese virtual currency enthusiasts away from attending the two-day China’s first-ever Global Bitcoin Summit starting in Beijing Saturday.

Several hundred people attended the conference and the main 400-seat auditorium was almost full on the first day. The speakers of the day were Roger Ver, Aaron Koenig of the Global Bitcoin Alliance, and Wang Wei of the Chinese Museum of Finance.

The CEO of BTC China did not appear at the conference. Li Xiaolai, who organised the conference, released the suggestion that Beijing would eventually ban the use of digital currencies in the mainland.

“Thailand has already banned bitcoin, so has Russia. But who cares if China bans it as long as everyone knows the whole world can’t ban it,” Li pointed out. However, he also denied that bitcoin users felt intimidated by the central government regulations.

The conference took place at the huge China National Convention Center, located just across the road from Beijing’s Olympic main stadium. The bitcoin summit itself was placed at a relatively small auditorium at the back of the second floor.

Regulation Not an Issue

During Roger Ver’s keynote nothing was mentioned about regulatory issues. Moreover in his speech he was stressing a voluntary nature of the bitcoin economy.

“I’m pretty much done investing in bitcoin startups. But if you know some good ones I’m always very happy to introduce you to the right people,” he said.

When he got asked which companies would succeed in the future, Ver replied it’s still early to give a certain answer. Moreover, he mentioned: “But somebody’s going to work it out. Somebody’s going to do it right.”

In addition, he said: “I’m often more impressed with Chinese bitcoin exchanges than I am with some of the US and European exchanges.”

Other Features

One of the international visitors who came to speak, was Bitcoin Alliance of Canada executive director Anthony Di Iorio.

“In China, it’s really weird right now,” Di Iorio said. “You’ve got the five exchanges that pulled out at the last minute, and they’re not speaking, either. I’m surprised the conference was allowed to go on.”

“I think some of them are scared,” he added of Chinese Bitcoin enthusiasts. “But I mean, they’re just passionate about this amazing technology. … The space in general is growing rapidly. From what I’m hearing in China, I think there will be some breakthroughs.”

Other international guests included secure wallet Bifubao, mining equipment maker Gridseed Technology Ltd, and a couple of OKCoin-branded ATMs.

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