Chinese bitcoiners sent each other $1.6 million in Chinese New Year gifts, according to OKCoin.
Half a million accounts were created on the largest Chinese bitcoin exchange to celebrate East Asia’s main holiday, the Lunar New Year, OKCoin reports. In total, bitcoin enthusiasts exchanged around 10 million yuan (US $1.6 million).
Money was donated through OKLink, OKCoin’s mobile wallet, and the messaging app WeChat. The gifts were sent in virtual red envelopes, respecting a centuries-old Chinese tradition. The recipient of the red envelope had to sign in to an OKLink wallet to claim his gift. OKCoin CEO Star Xu remarked that “bitcoin acts as a social financial network and the success of bitcoin relies on more and more users adopting bitcoin and not only using it as a trading commodity”. As CoinFox has written earlier, Star Xu considers increasing the adoption of bitcoin as the company’s great mission. The company is now planning an English-language version of the red envelope campaign.
The Chinese New Year was also celebrated by the bitcoin community in Australia. The Melbourne Bitcoin Technology Centre together with the Bitcoin Group gave out red envelopes with bitcoin paper wallets, instructions, and good wishes for the New Year to passersby in the Melbourne Chinatown.
The red colour is supposed to bring good luck and chase away evil spirits. The red envelopes have been used in China from times immemorial to give cash as wedding gifts, Chinese New Year gifts (especially from old people to young ones), tips, and even bribes. In East Asia nowadays, they have a particularly strong association with the Lunar New Year. Usually the sums given are not very significant.
As cryptocurrencies become more popular, they are increasingly adopted for traditional festivals. CoinFox recently wrote about different ways to celebrate St. Valentine’s day with bitcoin.