Bitcoiner Ge and his family
“Want some tea? I can offer you a discount if you pay me with bitcoin,” said Ge with a big smile in his face.
Ge, a Hangzhou-based bitcoiner, works for a mega SOC and sells tea as a sideline. He prefers being called a “cockroach”, saying one must be as hardy as a cockroach to survive market bloodbaths in the cryptocurrency world.
“Life is hard, boss. Wanna buy some tea?”
Just talk to him for two minutes, and you get to know what is his pet phrase.
Ge goes fishing with his friends on Sunday
He dresses casually, keeps saying how hard life is and recommends his tea to you throughout the interview. But actually he lives a pretty comfortable life in Hangzhou with car, house and everything. When he has some free time, he would go fishing with some friends.
He first heard about bitcoin in early 2013, but he forgot the exact time. A friend of him returned to China from the USA and introduced bitcoin to him. Ge soon got strongly interested in it. He keeps updating news about bitcoin on Weibo. And of course, he always finishes news with words like “20% discount buying tea with bitcoin.” He has been doing this for 4 years.
“People may not understand the significance of bitcoin now. And there is not so much I can do about it, but I can always offer a 20% discount to bitcoin users.”
If bitcoin will be widely accepted as a means of payment in China, then Ge is one of the first merchants to make it happen.
He tells me that there are some darks moments of his life as a bitcoiner. Sometimes he gets so desperate that he wants to throw himself from the window. (I hope he was just kidding) In 2015, he put a large amount of his bitcoin on KipCoin, but lost them all.
KipCoin was a Chinese bitcoin exchange wallet service founded by Wang Cong in 2014. On February 18, 2015, they stated on their website that their wallet servers were hacked and that they had lost over 3000 BTC. Later Wang Cong just disappeared and victims failed to get their coins back.
“I fell victim to KipCoin. I lost all my coins! Wang looks like an honest man. How am I supposed to know he would do such a horrible thing?”
Ge complains while slapping his laps. He says he could have afforded a Lambo with the coins he lost.
He sighs heavily then looks at me and says mischievously:
“Boss, life is hard. Buy some tea to cheer me up?”
Actually, Ge has made big money by investing in altcoins since this March. Basically, every altcoin he buys has increased 10 or 20 times.
Ge jokingly says that: “I tasted every piece of the shitcoins. Yummy.”
Some win and some lose in the cryptocurrency world. But it’s always a winning game selling tea. His first customer is a real big shot in the industry whom he wants to keep anonymous. The person paid him 33 bitcoin in 2013 for one kilo of Longjing tea.
Now Ge has become the spokesman for tea in the community. Many famous bitcoiners and investors are buying his tea.
Ge says that a lot has been going on in the market, the scaling problem, endless ICO projects. And if you are in the “wrong“ side, you will be cornered like a helpless little rabbit.
“Harmony is most precious. Let’s stop all the madness and enjoy a cup of Longjing tea.”
Again, Ge finishes the interview with an ad saying how siplicious his tea is.
I am sure there are more old bitcoiners like Ge who have been fooled, be laughed and be insulted, but they are not leaving the community. Instead, they work to make others understand the significance of bitcoin in various ways. As a simple bitcoiner, we could all do something to make bitcoin popular, like explaining bitcoin to your family, sending bitcoin hongbao (red envelope) to newly married couples, spreading positive news about bitcoin on social media, buying a cup of coffee with bitcoin at Garage Café or some tea from Ge.
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