Through my work in both the Western and Chinese cryptocurrency communities, I have come to see risk in how Western and Chinese cryptocurrency enthusiasts—Monero enthusiasts in particular—perceive each other. This article discusses my observations and gives some suggestions on steps that will bring the two communities closer and make Monero stronger.
Nature of Interest
First, there is projection from each community onto the other of what matters most to it. From my first work translating Monero articles for the Western community I have been inundated with technology theory and philosophy. In contrast, as a freelance writer for the blockchain media in China, articles tend to be on price and mining. Westerners, then, tend to see Chinese as disproportionately motivated by theory and philosophy, and Chinese see Westerners as manipulating price and perversely impacting mining.
Chinese pride themselves on being open. And, really, we are less private than Americans and Europeans. It is common to share salary and personal spending information, for example. I believe this comes historically from fewer secrets being kept in extended families in China. Westerners, on the other hand, are more concerned with social issues.
Informal online research supports this observation of differing priorities. For example, very telling is the difference when Google searching “monero” versus Baidu searching “门罗币, ” the Chinese spelling of Monero. Google and Baidu are the most popular search engines in the Western world and in China, respectively. Guess what happens with the searches? The results are shown below:
In the top 10 Google rankings, technical information accounts for 50%. This includes the recognized Monero website, getmonero.org, as well as Wikipedia and Twitter. Next, 20% is news and investment data. As 10%, only one exchange, coinbase.com, appears.
Among the top 10 rankings of Baidu in China, on the other hand, the largest proportion is 40% dedicated to mining. Next, technology accounts for 30%. 20% of search results focus on investment data. Finally, there was one odd website presenting information about the use of Monero on the dark net.
Western enthusiasts tend to think of the Chinese Monero community as small. Seemingly there are few openly Chinese enthusiasts known on Reddit, Telegram, or other platforms, and most of the online guys with mysterious handles seem explicitly Western. Well, it turns out the Chinese Monero community is large. I would argue that our number is actually comparable (less than an order of magnitude away, say) to that of Western enthusiasts.
Beyond my subjective impression, research supports this: A search for “XMR” among QQ groups—one of the favorite discussion methods in China—yields about 18K subscribers (most of them interested in mining). This can be compared to about 14K subscribers to r/MoneroMining and 158K subscribers to r/Monero on Reddit. And, moreover, I would argue that the percentage of Chinese Reddit subscribers is high compared to the percentage of Westerners in QQ groups.
In China, there are some high-quality reporters and experts. I recommend the XMR column created by Jindouyun as first class. He serialized the translation of Mastering Monero into a nice column: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/cinotLriQuo_EliEybkFyA. In addition, his translations of articles about Monero wallets are excellent. Respected expert theNoblesse has translated a significant part of the getmonero.org website into Chinese. I (FutureFan1) also welcome you to read some of the articles I have written and translated on Jianshu, jianshu.com/p/e24f106e1dcd).
Yet despite these efforts and individuals, among others, the organization of Monero enthusiasts in China is a mess. We look longingly outside, where there is getmonero.org, monerooutreach.org, and other official and semi-official websites, and people. Yes, I know—there is nothing formally official for Monero. Indeed, there are no de jure officials, but there are de facto officials and websites. In China, we struggle to establish this organization in a Chinese language framework.
Doubt and Worry
Westerners have doubts and worries about Cryptocurrency and Monero that are different from those in China. Westerners may worry that the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was the government, or that some altcoin is a scam. With Monero, Westerners may have technical worries related to traceability. Chinese, on the other hand, worry that Monero is an invention of the West to take money from Chinese. We have conspiracy theories that way.
We all hope for a bright future for cryptocurrency and Monero. The steps needed are quite visible to me, and here are my recommendations:
First, strengthen the translation of Western Monero information resources, including the official website, the book Mastering Monero, and Monero Outreach documents.
Second, accelerate the Chineseization of Monero wallets. The official GUI wallet does have a Chinese version, but the Chinese translation is not thorough. Some Chinese people who don’t understand any English at all cannot make it through installation. The Chineseization of the wallet should consider two matters: First, the Chinese version of the wallet should be thoroughly translated, and second, the wallet should be placed in the Chinese app store so that Chinese can easily download it on their mobile phones. I hope that developers can support Chinese improvements soon and enable broad Chinese use of Monero wallets.
Third, advance Monero in Chinese mainstream media. At present, China's blockchain mainstream media, such as Bihu and Knowledge Planet, have not even set up discussion of Monero. This may require some support from the Western community.
Fourth, establish high-quality Monero social circles in China. We have established the "Monero Technology Exchange Group" on WeChat, which is well aligned with the Western Monero community (Jindouyun and theNobless, mentioned above, are part of this). And MrScott, the manager of XMR on sina blog and Cointime on 8bt, is also involved in this Group (to join this WeChat group, please contact user “mpmandarin”).
Fifth, strengthen the exchanges between Chinese and Western communities. Since the core technicians of Monero and most of the early participants are from the West, to strengthen the understanding of the members of the Chinese community outreach could be undertaken together. For example, a Chinese-Western talk format could be used, with a Chinese host interviewing Western technical personnel and active community participants to enhance mutual understanding.
These steps would grow the Monero community in China, and strengthen Monero for everyone. Monero is a global phenomenon, and the Chinese community should rise up to find natural balance and global growth.