Chinese Automaker Announced to Accept Bitcoin for Car Purchases but Soon Delete it

GAC NIO, a joint venture between famous Chinese automobile manufacturer GAC Group and the “Tesla of China” NIO Inc., officially announced on Weibo that it would accept bitcoin as means of payment for car purchases, making it the first auto company in China to support bitcoin.

GAC NIO was established in April 2018 jointly by one of China’s biggest automakers GAC Group, GAC Aion, NIO Capital, and the country’s electric vehicle leader NIO, mainly focusing on the research and development, sales and service of pure electric vehicles.

At around 10:00 a.m. of December 31, the company posted a weibo (Twitter equivalent in China) announcing that it will be the very first automaker in the country to accept bitcoin as the payment for car purchases, giving clients the space to think bigger.

A screenshot of the announcement before it was deleted 

The weibo, posted along with a picture with a conspicuous bitcoin logo, immediately got spread widely and caused quite a stir especially in the crypto space.

Bitcoiners in the country were surprised at the bold claim of the company as bitcoin-like cryptocurrencies are disliked and by no means deemed as currency by Chinese regulators. Veteran bitcoin traders showed their worries for the company, commenting that the post would definitely be deleted soon under regulatory pressures.

Unsurprisingly, the announcement was removed as expected in less than two hours. While minutes before that, the company still tried to reorganize the wording by modifying bitcoin into digital currency which seems to be more compliant.

Soon, NIO, one of the company’s investors, which is often mistaken for GAC NIO, released an announcement to disassociate itself from the incident, claiming that NIO was not the company who claims to accept bitcoin.

The move of GAC NIO seems to be more like a marketing stunt in haste than a real attempt to gravitate towards bitcoin in the country. As the announcement came at a time when the price of bitcoin rallied to set a new all-time high at $29,000.

Prior to it, a luxury car and a real estate company in the country announced to accept bitcoin but both turned out to be failures.

Though it is not illegal to trade or hold bitcoin by law within China, while companies especially such big ones have to avoid potential policy risks when it comes to bitcoin-like cryptocurrencies which are apparently disliked by regulators in the country.

As of press time, 8btc has reached out to the company and it replied that the payment channels of digital currency will be added in the future according to the actual situation, but without any mention of bitcoin. Digital currency, 数字货币 in Chinese, often refers to the central bank digital currency in the country.

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