What electronic payment systems might have to do with Bitcoin – a vision of the future?

Electronic payment systems in China

I am living in China since a few years and in many ways they seem to be ahead of the western market concerning the digital landscape.
(check out for example this video here: “How China is changing your Internet – The New York Times” )

How it was before…

Currently it seems that electronic payments are completely substituting the payments with Cash. I still remember how i had to pick up big piles of cash to pay my rent in advance for 6 months plus one month of deposit plus one month of agency fees, in total 36000 RMB. Mind you, to decrease the risk of fake bank notes, the biggest denomination of RMB is 100 RMB, meaning i had to pick up 360 bank notes just to pay this – and my apartment was cheap. Cash was used in every day transactions a lot and outside of the corporate world not a lot of bank transfers were going on.

How it is now…

This changed a lot during the last few years: WeChat and Ali Baba introduced electronic payment systems, in which you can charge your bank accounts and reload your balance there. Then you can directly pay with it from your balance in a matter of seconds.
No risk of fake bank notes. Immediate confirmation. For the transaction itself, zero fees.
Just if you want to get our your money from these ecosystems, you have to pay a very small fee.

Most people that I know do not have cash with them anymore today, most of the payments (at least in bigger cities) are now completely done by using these apps from very small (with street stalls) to pretty big payments (like the rental payment if not done by the bank account).

Paying with QR code in China

 

How does it work?

There are two ways:

  • Private Accounts: The receiver of the money shows a QR code (either by printing it or on your phone). The sender scans it, enters the amount, enters his pin and the money gets transferred.
  • Vendor accounts with scanner: The sender of the money shows a dynamically created QR code on the phone screen, the receiver scans it and the amount (which was calculated by the cash register) will be transferred automatically.

If the sender of the money has enough balance on his account, you can tell the App to first use this balance. If it is not enough, it automatically can transfer money from your bank account to the App balance in the background.

What does this have to do with Bitcoin?

While some of these thoughts were there already before, the following aspects hit me like a stone when I was reading this article:

If Bitcoin can be used in a similar simple matter as the electronic payment systems as mentioned above (see point 1 of the linked article), it has the serious potential to become the “WeChat Pay” and “Alipay” outside of China with the additional benefit of not being bound to one currency. This is huge.

System requirements

I never used Bitcoin as a payment method so far. Is there any way to transfer BTC as convenient as described above? If not, I hope the following requirements would have to be met:

  • Instant transactions (…hope LN can deliver on this)
  • Control of the amount of BTC that can be spent due to security reasons (…so:
    A) Either a way to spend BTC directly from an exchange/wallet with adjustable limits.
    B) Or a separate wallet which is provided by the developer of the system especially for this use case… which would sadly be centralization again…so not really in the future vision of BTC)

Or am I missing something?

Risks on bitcoin – and why this might still take a while

I currently am very bullish on Bitcoin, also when keeping this in my mind – for me the biggest risks are though:

  • Negative regulation.
    In my opinion regulation can be good and “legitimate” BTC. But overregulation, especially banning of exchanges or making the holding of BTC illegal would definitely be a small but possible risk.
  • Internal quarrels:
    Mostly coming from the experience how “the pirate party” in germany was able to crush itself in internal quarrels, I see this also a small but still existing risk.
    (…Segwit2X anyone?)

Would be happy to learn about your thoughts either in the comments here or on reddit.

4HB / Slow Carb in China – the first month

It has been an interesting month: The first month of the Slow Carb Diet in China is over and yes, there has been a development which is not that bad at all.
After 31 days runtime I lost around 3.9 KG (maximum difference) – and it was by far not as troublesome as I thought in the beginning.

My main meals consist of

  • Some cooked eggs for breakfast (which are really hard to eat for me since I never was a big fan of breakfast)
  • 干边四季豆  and 小炒肉  or 麻辣烫 during lunch time in the company.
  • Some steak and lentils in the evening or when eating outside something that fits more or less into the plan. Sometimes I also just cook another steak for the lunch the next day.

It is not that easy to get Slow carb ingredients in any random supermarket sadly, so I am mostly still relying on JD.com to deliver my stuff.
10 Steaks for 229 RMB, a can of lentils for around 10 RMB, and so on.

I also started drinking tea (which i did not really like before) and recognized that using ginger in hot water can be pretty yummy. According to some information on the internet it also has some health benefits, at least it seems not to hurt.

Curious how this will continue….

 

Lost weight on the slow carb diet in China in the first month

Xiaomi Smart Home Part 1: My XiaoMi Mi Smart Home System Overview

I admit it. I am a big fan of Xiaomi – and while in the beginning I had pretty much everything they had to offer, the portfolio grew that quickly that I cannot keep up with it anymore. Still, I am one of the lucky people who installed a Xiaomi Smart Home System with pretty many devices. In the future I want to give you a deeper insight about the single products, but at first let me share my Xiaomi product map with you:

 

XiaoMi Smart Home product map
XiaoMi Smart Home product map

 

As you can see, I invested a considerate amount of money into this Smart Home system:

Mi Router with 1 TB Harddisk

  • Connected a Yeelight via a USB-stick for the router
    • Smart Power Plug / Power Socket for the bedroom (to control electric bed heating and air humidifer)
    • Smart power Plug / Smart power socket for the living room (to connect TV, Water dispenser and others)
    • Mi Box (with which you can watch a lot of movies and TV series online or directly from the Mi Router)
    • Mi Universal Remote Control (which can remote control (almost?) all Infrared devices
    • Xiaomi Vacuum cleaning Robot
    • Mi Air Cleaner 2

Xiaomi Smart Gateway

  • Temperature Sensor
  • Door Sensor
  • Movement Sensor for the bedroom
  • Movement Sensor for the living room
  • Switch/Button

Directly connected to my Xiaomi M5 Phone:

  • Xiaomi Scale
  • Xiaomi Band
  • Xiamo Bedside Lamp

The good Thing is: Even while i invested quite a sum, compared to other Systems it probably is still amazingly cheap. While some of the products deliver great value for Money, some others might might bring some inconveniences with it. This part of my blog is dedicated to Show you some of the upsides and downsides.

I also realized that there are lots of Reviews and tests online, but somehow I did not find any tests in real life situations. I hope i can fill this Information gap in the next few weeks.

 

 

Slow Carb in China – Trying out the 4HB / 4 hours body in China: First week

It is this time of the year again: I want to get rid of some extra weight on my ribs. While China has really great Food, it is really a bit hard to Control the weight here.
Additional challenge: Being based in Beijing, lots of the Food here is oily and Rice seems to be one of the Standards that are hard to avoid.

The first week is over, I just got my PAGG stack – since the only vendors for a premixed PAGG stack on Taobao are only buying the stuff in the US and then sending it by post, I went through the hassle of getting all the single ingredients myself on Taobao. Jingdong was not helping either.

Anyway, what Kind of chinese Food seems to be helping here?

My breakfast during the week mostly consists of 3 eggs since my Company provides free breakfast for all employees anyway, it is hassle-free.

Lunch I mostly go for 麻辣烫 (Malatang – like Hotpot for one person), 麻辣香锅  (Malaxiangguo, some Kind of dry hotpot)- mostly I was adding Tofu, but it seems that Tim Ferris suggests not to eat that. So it is just the Basic stuff: Meatballs for Proteine, Chicken or Beef, Broccoli, Cauliflower, lots of Salad and different Kinds of mushrooms.
Since my poor colleagues who go to lunch with me seemed to be suffering, I also sometimes just order 干煸四季豆 (spicy green beans) and 西红柿炒鸡蛋 (Egg and Tomato).

For dinner I mostly eat chicken breast, some beans and salad. Can be prepared quickly (less than 15 minutes) and at least seems to be satisfying so far. An international Supermarket (Jenny Wang… or was it Jenny Lou?) supplied me with some Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar which really brings a nice taste to that stuff.

My beloved coke Zero (零度可乐) will have to take a break with me, instead I mostly drink water with a bit of Lemon Juice inside during the day. And the is now adjusted with Cinnamon instead of a sweetener.

The results of the first week are quite promising: From 92,2 KG i lost -1,5 KG. And Tim is right: The first cheat day / binge day put quite some weight on (despite drinking the recommended Grapefruit jiuce) but it was gone again after 2 more days.

Week 2 just started yesterday and I will try some more adjustments this week: Doing some 7 minutes workouts together with the Slow Carb every 2-3 days, adding the PAGG-stack and trying to eliminate more of the Things I should not eat (e.g. Tofu).