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China’s millennials bet on cryptocurrencies in hopes of reaching upper middle class

  • Speculation in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is increasingly popular among young adults in China as way to get ahead, and maybe buy a home
  • Even with cryptocurrency trading illegal in China, people are using the internet to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with high risk, but potential for high rewards.

In the past few months, Wendy Li, a 32-year-old independent online content producer in Shenzhen and her boyfriend, Henry Yi, a 29-year-old photographer and video editor, say that they and many of their friends have been riding the wave of cryptocurrency speculation – with all of the ups and downs that come with it.

This surge of interest in cryptocurrencies has been spreading rapidly among China’s millennials and adult members of Generation Z – either through advice from friends or being convinced by online influencers – even as the value of major cryptocurrencies has historically experienced swift rises and falls, including “wild fluctuations” in the recent past.

“Besides us, many of our friends, colleagues and roommates have invested in cryptocurrencies, and the attraction is just so strong that as soon as a friend around you starts doing this, soon several friends in your circle will be tempted,” Li said.

These young Chinese urban dwellers in their twenties and thirties are following the logic of their contemporaries in the United States, South Korea and Japan – that speculating in cryptocurrencies is the last good opportunity to break through class barriers and propel themselves into the upper-middle class.


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