Bitcoin-Bashing TV Programs Triggers Anger In China
A Chinese television program that portrayed Bitcoin in a negative light sparked outrage among Bitcoiners. Many were hopeful that the Chinese authorities would back off on the Bitcoin issue after decimating the price in December. At least a short reprieve was hoped for and seemed o be on the horizon with the authorities being somewhat silent since mid-December. But it was possibly too good to be true.
Anti-Bitcoin Drive In China
There is no denying that the Chinese government is overtly negative towards Bitcoin of late. In December 2013, it issued warnings and implemented restrictions on certain parties in the economy that essentially halved Bitcoin prices within days. There was still widespread uncertainty as to how the Chinese Bitcoin scene would be shaped in the new year. And now comes another blow.
While the Chinese government itself cannot be fingered specifically for the documentary on the business channel of China Central Television (CCTV2), it must be remembered that the channel is backed by the government. Many believe that the program was overtly biased towards Bitcoin thereby indicating a hidden agenda by some party that is against the cryptocurrency.
The program titled Outrageous Bitcoin recounts the “horror stories” of Bitcoin investors who lost money in the aftermath of the December price plunge. Ironically the plunge was largely fueled by actions of the Chinese government. The program was ‘unprofesionally imbalanced” according to CoinDesk, the leading Bitcoin news website, and largely based on the negative experiences of some people who invested in Bitcoin.
Bitter Bitcoin Experiences
The experiences of everyday people who got into Bitcoin, some businesses involved in Bitcoin and the second-hand account of a client of OK Coin (China’s second largest Bitcoin exchange) were featured in the program. Needless to say that all the experiences of these individuals and businesses were negative.
The documentary-makers interviewed these private citizens and businesspeople and relayed the stories of people losing money, mainly where their investments were halved following the December 2013 plunge when Bitcoin prices halved within days. There was also no shortage of hearsay from interviewees telling of the experiences of ‘others’ who suffered a similar fate as them.
But all is not what it seemed. A couple, Jin Yangyang and Guo Hongcai, who host a Bitcoin videocast and were featured recounting the experiences of desperate Bitcoiners who asked them for help when the price plunge occurred now claim that their account featured in the documentary was taken out of context. Apparently they gave a two-hour long interview which was then edited down to a few minutes in the aired program.
Outcry From Bitcoiners
Bitcoiners in China did not take it lying down. They denounced the program and aired their views on social media stating that it was a biased picking of a few people’s experiences. Negative experiences at that. And their anger also turned against towards some of the interviewees. Jin Yangyang and Guo Hongcai had to bear the brunt of angry Bitcoiners who flung criticism and verbal abuse their way.
Some believe that the documentary signals an even further crackdown on Bitcoin by the Chinese authorities. Others wonder whether the government has taken to scare tactics to detract its citizens from Bitcoin. Whatever the motivation behind the documentary, and whether or not the Chinese government was involved with its making, there is no denying that the image of Bitcoin has been tarnished in the most populous nation in the world.
Tarnished in the eyes of those who are new to Bitcoin scene and do not fully understand the ins and outs of cryptocurrency. Remember that the large population of Bitcoiners in China have the ability to shake up prices of Bitcoin almost instantly, which ultimately has global repercussions. It is unlikely to be a permanent effect but how it will affect Bitcoin prices and trading remains to be seen.