Coining it in: Bitcoin vs lucky money for Lunar New Year in Vietnam

Bitcoin has been making people fortunes in recent times, and a more tangible version of the cryptocurreny is also poised to bring some Lunar New Year cheer to Vietnamese children next month. Metallic coins with Bitcoin logos are joining the popular chocolate coins as alternatives to cash given away in red envelopes known as li xi, or lucky money, to children during Tet, the biggest festival of the year in Vietnam, which will fall in mid February. For the past few months, online shops in Vietnam have been importing coins bearing the Bitcoin logo to sell for VND80,000 ($3.5) to serve the rising demand for the currency that has helped many miners strike it rich following its boom in recent months. Bitcoin, the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, rose around twentyfold last year, climbing from less than $1,000 to nearly $20,000, a record level which has been attributed to surging demand in China, where authorities say it is being used to channel money out of the country. A seller named Long in Ho Chi Minh City said he has been selling the physical Bitcoins for two months via Facebook. The current demand is still low, around 10 coins per week, with each of his customers buying two coins on average, but it will rise as Tet nears, he said. Each gold plated Bitcoin that Long sells is 3 millimeters thick, weighs 28 grams, has a 40-millimeter diameter and is covered in a protective acrylic case. Long said more online shops have… [Read full story]

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