He leads me through a dark The club is located in a 2,000-square-foot villa with a staff of 15, including cooks, cleaners, and wait people.It has two guest rooms, a dining room that hosts two dozen people, a professional Texas Hold ‘Em table emblazoned with the legend, “Faith in Bitcoin,” an automated mahjong table; shelves stacked with fine wine and liquor, a room for practicing Chinese caligraphy, and so on.I’ve just returned from visiting one of the world’s largest bitcoin mines and find myself at a gathering of cryptocurrency enthusiasts at a craft beer brewery in the Sanlitun nightlife district.I excuse myself from the bitcoin meetup and resort to jumping in a pirate taxi because I don’t have a mobile wallet from Alibaba or Tencent—the primary way to hail and pay for taxis in the city.After paying in cash—now a rarity in China’s mobile payment saturated cities—I disembark, then get lost amid Beijing’s ancient My host puts me out of my misery by sharing his location on a real-time map over our We Chat direct messages.Now drenched in sweat, I meet Jack Liao, who runs a bitcoin mining firm called Lightning Asic.The code behind the new currency gave life to libertarian ideals like: money free from government controls on spending and taxation; transactions that could ignore a global, sometimes corrupt banking system; and freedom from central bank targeting of interest rates and inflation.It was also rebuke to the very notion of conventional money.
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The table stakes are bitcoin, Ali Pay credits, and sometimes even yuan, the only non-virtual currency accepted.
Guests can sleep, eat, drink, and gamble for free if they’re acquainted with the miners who run the place.
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