This weekend has seen two large gala evening events hosted by large Chinese bitcoin exchanges: Huobi's first anniversary celebrations on Saturday and the 'One Night in Beijing with OKCoin' mini-conference on Friday.
Both took place at five-star hotels in Beijing, with attendees numbering several hundred for each event. Each event featured an exhibition of Chinese bitcoin companies that included app developers, ATM manufacturers and mining hardware makers.
There were also roundtable discussion topics concerning bitcoin's outlook in China, a debate and launch of the new book, The Controversial Bitcoin.
marked one year since its launch on 1st September, 2013, at the Shangri-La Hotel with the first 'China Bitcoin Industry Summit' featuring presentations, panel discussions, and a huge birthday cake.
CEO Leon Li said:
"Huobi is more than a bitcoin exchange, it is a comprehensive bitcoin services company."
It also handed out a series of awards for mining companies, impressive applications, and innovative bitcoin media.
Huobi's Robert Kuhne said there have been no public statements from the Chinese government in the past few months, and that exchanges now have a much better idea of the boundaries within which they operate.
Now large exchanges are expected to attend the next big China event, Shanghai's Bitcoin Expo on 19th-21st September. OKCoin is listed as a major sponsor and CEO Li as a speaker.
Other bitcoin startups face rocky road
This could be both good and not-so-good news for bitcoin on China. It could signify that acceptance of bitcoin is growing, or that authorities no longer consider it influential in mainstream life.
A source from the Chinese bitcoin scene, who preferred not to be named, said of the exchanges' expanding businesses:
The attention is drawing in outsiders and new investors who wanted to get involved in bitcoin, but some mining and application startups are having a tough time finding both customers and investment. For example, startup wallet service Bihang posted a notice last week saying it is to close down.
, China-based partner at 500 Startups, agreed that Chinese venture capital interest in smaller bitcoin startups is "definitely low", and that mainstream VC investors are "not taking it seriously" for reasons of lack of legal clarity, low visibility and daily use in China and better opportunities for tech entrepreneurs outside the bitcoin sphere.
Kuhne added that while things could easily change in future, there is still optimism.
"There is so much excitement because of fast-developing technology and all the money to be made," he said.
Images via Philip McMaster, OKCoin, Huobi, Weibo
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