Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSRT), the oldest tech publication in China, has announced that it will now accept Bitcoin for its 2019 subscriptions, Asia Times reported on October 1.
Embracing the Digital Payment Technology
China’s oldest media publication covering the tech industry, the Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR), has announced that it will now offer subscriptions payable with bitcoin (BTC), local media outlet Guangming reported on September 30.
According to the publication’s press release, starting from 2019, BSTR will sell its yearly subscription at a price of 0.01 BTC, worth around $65. Subscribers can pay subscription fees to the specific bitcoin receiving address of the newspaper to complete the subscription, the release explained.
BSTR’s move will make it the first media publication of any kind that accepts any kind of cryptocurrency. The company also decided that if the price of bitcoin grows significantly by 2020, it will provide refunds to those who have subscribed using the digital currency.
The company explained their intent to accept Bitcoin highlighted its desire to promote blockchain technology in a real-world setting for “practical actions.” In its statement, the company said that the publication hopes to “cultivate new readers” by embracing the payment technology.
And while BSTR is certainly the first media company in China that’s openly accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, it certainly isn’t the first in the world. Media companies have already started using cryptocurrencies as a way of attracting new, tech-savvy customers.
According to Asia Times, Time Incorporated announced that it would accept Bitcoin for subscriptions to Fortune, Good Health, Travel and Leisure, and This Old House back in 2014. The Chicago Sun-Times was also next to join the cryptocurrency bandwagon, enabling bitcoin payments in April 2014.
Is It Bad Timing?
The announcement of BSTR to integrate Bitcoin into its platform comes in a very tumultuous time for cryptocurrencies in China.
Cryptocurrency trading and usage remain illegal in the country, with both the government and local financial authorities banning individuals from trading in cryptocurrencies on both cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) platforms.
Financial institutions, banks, and FinTech payment networks like Alipay are all obligated to censor any transaction that is linked to cryptocurrency trading platforms, in a bid to step down on the country’s once bustling crypto industry. However, BSTR’s decision to accept bitcoin paints a different picture of the crypto industry in China and shows that, while technically banned, there is still active in the sector.
At the same time, owning and investing in cryptocurrency is not officially illegal. Chinese cryptocurrency news commentator CNLedger said that BSTR was not technically breaking the law by offering subscriptions payable in bitcoin, as owning cryptocurrencies in itself isn’t illegal.
Featured image by Virgil Pana