A new bank account, my first HUT paycheck, and a new residence permit

A new bank account, my first HUT paycheck, and a new residence permit
ZHENGZHOU, HENAN — Still busy here, but midterms are now over. My time has been spent marking the exams, and getting a new bank account and finishing the paperwork to get a new residence permit. Marking exams is more fun. OK, I’m exaggerating, but it took most of one Saturday morning to open the bank account, and most of another afternoon to run around getting the paperwork submitted for the residence permit. It all seemed needlessly complicated, but at least the bank account was available for my first paycheck yesterday (YAY!) and for China’s big online shopping day — “Singles Day” — today. THE BANK ACCOUNT Although I already have two Chinese bank accounts, I had to open a new one. To be honest, I’m not entirely clear why, but it seems to have to do with my existing accounts being opened in Hunan, while my employer is in Henan. Even the bank worker was perplexed, as he told my student assistants that there was no need to open a new account, as I already had an account with that bank. After a few phone conversations with our staff assistant, it was decided that, to be on the safe side, ...

Bitcoiners’ dubious sense of economic history 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — Banks are all evil, right? Especially the Federal Reserve Bank, which if you believe Sen. Ron Paul (R-TX), is unconstitutional and shouldn’t even exist. And governments shouldn’t control currency, because … free markets! That’s pretty much the reasoning behind bitcoin and its various clones. Although I have playing with bitcoin and other crypto-currencies for the last month, I don’t totally buy into the philosophy behind their creation. For one thing, bitcoin fans don’t know their economic and political history too well. Here’s a tip, guys. It’s important to get your history straight before you introduce a whole new currency to replace something that’s been used for centuries. Maybe I’ve put the cart before the horse, but only now have I had the time to review the rationale for introducing bitcoin and its offshoots. Quite simply, I am not impressed. The wiki for Devcoin, an offshoot of bitcoin, links to this so-called “History of Money,” which contains this reference to Colonial Scrip (paper money) and Parliament’s regulation of it. In Response the world’s most powerful independent bank [The Bank of England] used its influence on the British parliament to press for the passing of the Currency Act of ...

Bitcoin update: Trading Chinese renminbi just got harder 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — Bitcoin’s value against the dollar has dropped dramatically these last few days, bouncing between US$600 and $700. Meanwhile, China’s restriction on bank trading has cut off one of my channels to convert renminbi into bitcoins. I found this message from rmbtb.com today. Dear users, Due to recent requirements by the People’s Bank of China, AliPay can no longer be used as a deposit or withdrawal method. Users with existing CNY balances at the time of this announcement will be allowed to withdraw CNY using AliPay prior to 21 December 2013, when the AliPay function will be completely removed. Other users have had their AliPay withdrawal limit reduced to zero. We have also tightened the withdrawal limits on Tenpay to 3,000 CNY. Please bear this in mind when selling BTC. We are searcing for reliable new payment options, and will update in the future when these are available. Alipay is a PayPal-like service in China. I’ve used it mostly for online shopping at www.taobao.com, but as with PayPal, you can also use to send money to an email address. Alipay uses the Bank of China as the conduit, and the government forbade banks from dealing in bitcoin earlier ...

Wherein I dip my toe into the bitcoin sea 2

Wherein I dip my toe into the bitcoin sea
JISHOU, HUNAN — Bitcoin may be the greatest thing since hard money, or the biggest flop since the 17th century tulip bulb bust, but I wanted to give it a try, just in case I could make some money. Bitcoin is a computer- and Internet-based currency, although some say it’s more a commodity than a kind of money. It’s decentralized, meaning there is no one authority (like a national bank system) controlling it, and it’s virtual, meaning it exists only in digital form. As I write this, 1 Bitcoin (BTC1.0) is worth about US$864, a considerable decline from the week before, when it crossed the $1,000 mark. How do you get bitcoins? There are four ways. Sell something for bitcoins. Trade something for bitcoins. “Mine” bitcoins on a computer. Buy bitcoins with regular, old-fashioned money. A fifth way, stealing bitcoins, is supposed to be nearly impossible, because bitcoin “wallets” and transactions are heavily encrypted. Hence the alternate name for bitcoin and its many cousins: crypto-currencies. Well, I wanted to get ahold of some bitcoins and another crypto-currency, peercoin. This was last week, when both were flying high relative to the dollar. I had nothing to sell or trade. My mid-range ...
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