Chinese Internet Celebrity Explains Bitcoin, Blockchain Technology to Over 500,000 Viewers

A Chinese internet celebrity called Li Yongle (李永乐) has recently made a 15-minute long video where he tried to explain to his followers what bitcoin and blockchain technology are. The video reportedly went viral in the country.

According to local news outlet 8BTC, Yongle has over 900,000 followers on a popular Chinese video-sharing platform, 2.8 million followers on the country’s version of Twitter, Weibo, and over 270,000 subscribers on YouTube.

This, as he is a well-known math and physics teacher in China, that helps others understand complex topics by simplifying them. The video of him explaining bitcoin and blockchain technology, which has also been shared on YouTube, is said to have been viewed over half a million times, and racked up over 5,000 comments.

The video went viral, according to 8BTC, thanks to key opinion leaders in the Chinese community, who helped spread the word by retweeting it. Among the 5,000 comments were viewers trying to learn more, asking how they can use bitcoin with their bank accounts, or whether or not mining the cryptocurrency consumes huge amounts of energy.

While the Chinese government has in the past cracked down on cryptocurrencies, state-run publications reportedly often share Li Yongle’s work. Other Chinese celebrities have reportedly already promoted bitcoin and cryptocurrencies on their shows.

Chinese cryptocurrency billionaire Zhao Dong has, back in November of 2018, predicted bitcoin could hit $50,000 within three years. Per his words, the right time to buy bitcoin is during the bear market, as those who “make truckloads of money do not have a very short-term speculative driven investment mindset.”

Notably, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has late last year said security token offerings (STOs) are illegal in the country, reinforcing its attitude towards the nascent sector. Despite the central bank’s attitude, a Chinese court has ruled that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin should be protected by law.

How Bakkt Can Bring the Crypto Space an Institutional Investor Influx

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have for years been waiting for institutional investors to enter the space. While the introduction of bitcoin futures contracts on regulated exchanges in late 2017 didn’t gain a lot of traction, but Bakkt may.

Bakkt is a long-awaited bitcoin futures exchange and on-boarding platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) - the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange – and it’s set to launch this year. Bakkt itself has remained tight-lipped over the precise launch date after delaying its launch last year, with ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher in February simply saying “later this year.”

It’s possible that this quarter may see the launch or at least more news about when the exchange is finally coming. At the end of March, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explained:

While we’re not yet able to provide a launch date, we’re making solid progress in bringing the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for bitcoin to the U.S.

Bakkt’s launch could be a major milestone for the cryptoasset industry. A venture backed by Microsoft and Starbucks, its institutional pedigree alone will switch many cautious investors on. Specifically, the firm is set to help consumers pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies, with Starbucks being the flagship retailer in its arsenal.

Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts will be the first physically-settled derivatives on a regulated trading platform. This means investors will receive the contract’s underlying asset, bitcoin, when it expires.

Currently the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning investors get the equivalent of BTC’s value in fiat when the contracts expire. This is seen by some as a major development in the cryptocurrency space, as it shows traditional finance is willing to interact with the nascent cryptoasset industry.

It’s worth noting that earlier this year the ICE’s CEO called Bakkt a “bit of a moonshot bet,”  as it was organized in a way “very different than the way ICE typically does business.” The firm has its own offices and management team, and could undergo more rounds of financing in the future.

Bakkt And a Potential Bitcoin ETF

What’s significant about Bakkt’s launch beyond this, is that it may bolster the chances of a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded fund (ETF) being approved. Such a product would make it easier for institutional investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies.

In August, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected nine other ETF applications, in particular highlighting how those applying hadn’t provided evidence that “bitcoin futures markets are of significant size’” for an ETF to be launched.

Once Bakkt is launched its trading volumes may very well help quell the SEC’s concerns over the bitcoin futures markets’ small size as institutions and other investors may feel comfortable entering it. Larger futures contracts trading volume, increased liquidity and a well-established company involved may prove enough to convince the SEC that the time is right for a Bitcoin ETF.

Bakkt therefore represents a very significant milestone for a maturing cryptoasset industry and may well herald the “institutional influx” that many have been anticipating since 2017. Despite the markets remaining relatively flat throughout 2019 these looming decisions in the U.S. have the power to move the entire industry forward, for better or worse.