The rapid growth of mobile payment services such as Alipay and WeChat Pay has allowed major Chinese cities to turn into cashless companies, allowing consumers to use their smartphones to pay for almost everything – from meals and transportation to tickets cinema and foot massages.  The development of cryptocurrencies, however, has aroused interest in the way we can live in China today using bitcoins, despite the government's crackdown on digital currency trading and the prohibition of payment services that accept such assets.
A group of Cryptocurrency enthusiasts, called Team 1234, gave an idea of how a person can survive in Bitcoin in China through the multi-episode documentary produced independently that was released on the service of iQiyi video streaming since August 30th.
The documentary Bitcoin Girl shows a young woman known by her online identity as He Youbing, which translates as "crazy" into Mandarin, and her attempt to use digital currency in an experiment of 21 days that covered Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
He Youbing, who comes from the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, transported bitcoins for an estimated value of US $ 1,400 at the start of his journey, on August 28th. His experiment involved persuading store owners and strangers to accept bitcoins in exchange for traditional food, shelter and banknotes, educating them on the benefits of blockchain – the technology behind cryptocurrencies.
Most of the 15 six-minute episodes of the documentary that have been shown so far on iQiyi has shown He Youbing's difficulties in exchanging his bitcoin, which was stored in an app wallet on his smartphone, in exchange for food, transport costs and banknotes.
"I can treat you for meals at our cafeteria, but I do not want to take bitcoins," one university student from Beijing told He Youbing in one episode. In another segment, a man in a cafe in Shenzhen told her, "I have no idea what bitcoin is."
In Beijing, the documentary showed He Youbing traveling in the nation's capital using a bicycle unlocked by the Ofo bike sharing service. He also slept overnight in a McDonald's restaurant, where he dined on the free ketchup.
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While in Beijing, He Youbing fainted one day due to low blood sugar. She survived that episode by contacting a person who made friends in a cryptocurrency chat group. This friend helped her send her to the hospital.
A couple of men from the same chat group became the first people on He Youbing's journey to accept his bitcoins in exchange for some snacks.
Things went better for He Youbing when he traveled to the southern coastal city of Shenzhen, where a shrimp restaurant accepted bitcoins. She also met a yoga teacher who bought bitcoin from her, a transaction that allowed her to have enough money to spend a night in a modest hotel.
In the last episode shown on September 15th, He Youbing was going to Shanghai, the final destination of his 21-day trip.
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Team 1234 did not respond immediately to requests for comments made by South China Morning Post through the social messaging service WeChat.
The documentary marks a new effort by the Chinese community of cryptocurrency users to raise the profile of digital resources, such as bitcoin and ethereum, in the midst of the intense repressive action of the government on all activities related to the digital currency in the country and the recent collapse in value assumed by almost all cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, the largest digital currency, is priced at 6,466.51 USD from 8.00 pm in Hong Kong on Monday, marking a 5% decline from the start of this year. year, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index.
The campaign against cryptocurrencies in China began last September, when regulators banned cryptocurrency trading and non-regulated crowdfunding schemes with digital currency known as the initial coin offering.
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Despite central government initiatives on the adoption of blockchain, the underlying technology of virtual currencies, Beijing has made clear that it does not want investors retailers put their money in cryptocurrencies amid fears of financial chaos
Bitcoin Girl however, has yet to take a plunge beyond the Chinese cryptocurrency community.
In the documentary, the producers said they had refused the offer of several blockchain start- in China to finance the experiment
"If I fail, then this is the failure of the blockchain people", he He Youbing said in the documentary, probably recognizing the lack of infrastructure to support mass cryptocurrency transactions compared to mobile payment platforms widely used in China.