How to Buy Bitcoins in China

Last updated: 3/26/19

In this guide, we’ll explore the best options for buying Bitcoin in China. We’ll also cover the legality and popularity of Bitcoin in China.

Post Summary

Due to the clamping down of the Chinese government on crypto related activities, buying Bitcoin within China is only possible on peer-to-peer basis. Once you have Bitcoin, you can trade it for altcoins on crypto-only exchanges such as Binance.

If you want a detailed explanation of how to buy Bitcoin in China, here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. Bitcoin legal status in China
  2. Bitcoin popularity in China
  3. Bitcoin communities in China
  4. Buy Bitcoin in Chinese exchanges
  5. Buy Bitcoin in international exchanges
  6. Bitcoin ATMs in China
  7. Conclusion

1. Is Bitcoin legal in China?

While Bitcoin is basically legal in China, it is not deemed as legal tender, nor does it enjoy the same safety features as the Chinese Yuan. More than that, financial institutions, such as banks, are banned from dealing with any cryptocurrency. So, while it is legal for citizens to own Bitcoin, buying it can only be done on peer-to-peer basis.

When it comes to actually using your Bitcoin, you may find some difficulty using it within China. The country does not provide any regulatory support to the development of crypto infrastructure. Furthermore, holding banks and payment processors unable to facilitate any Bitcoin-related transactions. As such it is very difficult to use or do anything with Bitcoin within China, other than trade or hodl it as an investment tool.


2. How popular is Bitcoin in China?

In February 2017, the Chinese regulatory bodies joined forces and started a crackdown on Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges, leading to a massive drop in BTC price globally. However, Bitcoin still has noticeable market activity in China, despite the various regulatory limitations imposed by the government.

Shutting down the exchanges did not stop Chinese citizens from trading Bitcoin, it only moved them to use peer-to-peer platforms, as can be seen on LocalBitcoins’ trading volume:

China Localbitcoins CNY volume

Interest in Bitcoin within China is in somewhat general decline, presented below by Google Trends for searches of the term ‘Bitcoin’. This can be attributed to the falling prices of the asset and increasing regulatory limitations.

China Bitcoin Google Trends


3. Main Chinese Bitcoin communities

Most of the Chinese Bitcoin economy is within the social-weave. The government having limited citizens severely has resulted in telecommunications companies banning cryptocurrency and blockchain related accounts.

While Bitcoin channels can be found, it’s difficult for a non-Chinese speaker to do so. Here is one we are aware of:

China’s BitcoinTalk thread


4. China-based Bitcoin exchanges

As of September 2017, the Chinese government has proceeded to crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, ICO platforms, and has blocked all domestic exchanges from operating. Therefore, no exchanges are operational within China and many big Chinese exchanges have relocated their operations overseas.


5. International Exchanges available in China

Government-imposed regulations did not stop at the domestic Chinese market, as the country has proceeded to ban most major cryptocurrency exchanges from interacting with their citizens. As a result, you can’t access international fiat exchanges, such as Coinbase or Kraken.

However, it may be possible to send coins to crypto-only exchanges, such as Binance, for conversion into different types of crypto.


6. How many Bitcoin ATMs are there in China?

There are no Bitcoin ATMs available in China.


7. Conclusion

The Chinese Bitcoin market was quick to adopt cryptocurrencies. By 2017, most of the mining power came from China in actual hashrate and hardware alike. Unfortunately, the massive amount of government limitations have led the ecosystem to a halt.

No bank or payment processor can help you purchase Bitcoin using fiat. To buy Bitcoin in China, you need to engage with the local crypto population on peer-to-peer basis, e.g. LocalBitcoins. Another option available for Bitcoin holders in China is to trade it for altcoins on crypto-only exchanges.

That’s it! If you have any personal experience or comment on Bitcoin in China, please leave it in the comments section below.

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