Podcast #25: Moving Money Out of China & Bitcoin

In this episode of the podcast I sit down with Americans Johnny (of Johnny 5 Donuts, a previous podcast guest) and Mac to talk about moving money out of China and more specifically, bitcoin in China. Over the last 30 days, and in the weeks since this podcast was recorded, the value of bitcoin has skyrocketed. Whether you’re interested in moving money out of China with or without bitcoin, hopefully this podcast will be helpful in your financial planning.

Topics Discussed

  • How to move money out of China, legally
  • China’s history with bitcoin and the current status
  • The fate of China’s bitcoin exchanges
  • Volatility in bitcoin
  • How to create and manage a bitcoin wallet and keys
  • How and why China manages and controls its currency, the RMB
  • What the future of cryptocurrency in China might hold

Download & Stream Links

Note: this podcast has chapters which you can use to navigate to different topics in the conversation. These will appear only if you are listening to the podcast app which supports chapters. If you are using an iPhone, we suggest Overcast which is a free download.

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About Charlie

Having lived in Chengdu for ten years, Charlie has traveled to every corner of China and back again, calling the Yulin neighborhood of Chengdu his adopted home.

6 Responses to “Podcast #25: Moving Money Out of China & Bitcoin”

  1. Why not buy gold coins in China and carry them out. What are the restrictions?


  2. Charlie

    Hi Paul,

    That is an interesting question. I spoke about this briefly with Johnny and Mac and we aren’t sure what restrictions there are but customs in your home country will certainly take issue with a large amount of gold on your person, if they find it. Information on that here: US Customs & Border Protection

    From what I’ve heard, the premiums for gold purchases in China are high. You’ll have a difficult time getting past customs with undetected gold in any decent amount. It seems like a risky option to us.

  3. Very interesting podcast. What I’m getting at is that in a sense cryptocurrency is exactly like a stock exchange but only riskier, as it’s based only on market speculation? Also, as mentioned in the podcast a few times, when making a purchase of virtually anything, even cryptocurrency itself, most of us still use the conventional currency, i.e. the fiat money. So even if the cryptocurrency itself is a decentralized currency and is spared from inflation (correct me if I’m wrong here), when you want to reinvest it or convert its value to tangible assets, you still come back to the fiat monetary system, correct? The Bitcoin Entanglement, so to speak- pun intended. And in the mean time inflation happens (as it always does), so when you trade cryptocurrency for US dollar, Euro or whatever currency there is, it has in fact lost its initial value when purchased (not the face value), so, inflation? I think that if cryptocurrency is “backed” by fiat money, you are essentially still in the system no matter what and inflation is just inevitable.

    Anyways, just putting in my two cents and I’m open to any opinions.

    It’s interesting that the cashless society was mentioned as well; I think that topic itself is probably worth another podcast.

  4. Charlie

    Hi Chels,

    It is riskier but in exchange for that risk you are getting gains that the stock market cannot deliver. Obviously there are no assurances that these gains will continue, but if you look at a chart of cryptocurrencies values you can see that the major coins have all handily outperformed stocks. Things like bitcoin are deflationary, rather than the supply increasing over time, it decreases, as more than half of all bitcoin that will ever be produced have already been mined (this does not include forks which duplicate the blockchain). It gets a little complicated but unlike fiat, there is no central authority with the power to produce additional coins to pay down debt, which devalues the currency which we are holding. Of course, this is a regular occurrence with fiat currency as central banks are acting upon their own political agenda.

    You can buy things with bitcoin. It is legal tender in a few countries, including Japan. But for many things, you would have to convert to fiat, or use a third party payment processor which does this for you. Had you bought 1 bitcoin in December of 2016 it would cost you about $950. Today you could sell the same bitcoin for $15,000. Obviously there are no guarantees as to what 2018 holds but that kind of gain makes the inflationary loss insignificant. I hope this helps and makes sense.

    Cashless society is a good topic, thanks for the suggestion. All of us have stopped carrying cash!

    • Hi Charlie,

      Thanks for your response. I’m a long-term listener to other podcasts about economics and current affairs and your explanation makes perfect sense. My understanding is that cryptocurrencies are like precious metals- as similar to the metals they decrease over time? While the precious metals are limited resources, how is cryptocurrency a limited “resource” as it’s basically… digital? The combinations of numbers and symbols (hash?) are limitless and with the right command and fast computers I’m guessing they can be automatically mined? Or the combinations have no pattern whatsoever and writing a command for that is simply impossible? Anyways I’m probably only getting to the 101’s as I have only been exposed to conventional investment methods, which of course (sadly) are still a part of the fiat system. But yeah I agree that it would be interesting to see how 2018 holds for cryptocurrencies. And just a random thought- there would definitely be moral and social implications if the current system ever crashes (I don’t know about other people but I certainly hope this never happens).

      • Charlie

        Bitcoin has traditionally been understood as a transactional currency, but because of extreme price volatility (almost entirely appreciation, so far) it has come to resemble more of a long term storage of value, like gold. The bitcoin protocol allows for 21 million coins to be mined between now and 2140, but more than half of them have already been mined. As time passes and new blocks are mined, they become increasingly difficult to mine – this is the deflationary aspect. Unlike fiat, the supply is dwindling, not expanding. The details get pretty complex, but if you’re interested in learning more, look up Andreas Antonopolous. He is the most knowledgeable, lucid commentator on cryptocurrency, he has authored a few books which are great. Check out “The Internet of Money” first.

        Crashes are normal in any economic system, since we know that crypto has distinct and unique value, it is a functional hedge against instability or fraud in traditional financial systems.

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