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Converse with the Biggest Bitcoin OTC Dealer Zhao Dong on His 5 Years in Crypto

Zhao Dong, known as one of China’s most influential bitcoin billionaires, has many titles. He was co-founder of Moji Weather, CTO of Garage Café, the birthplace of Chinese bitcoin community. He later became an early bitcoin adopter after selling his stake in Moji plus his house for bitcoin.

Fortune came to him in 2013 after learning bitcoin, while luck is not always on his side. He lost 9,000 BTC in a single day when his margin position on Bitfinex was forced liquidate on Feb 10, 2014, but he pulled it through and later became a shareholder of the exchange. We (8BTC) recently sat down with Zhao to talk about his 5-year experience in the crypto space and his suggestion for crypto investors suffering the “winter”.

I did mining business in 2014, but suffered great losses for the severe mining winter. In 2015, I was penniless burdened with a lot of debts. At that time, all I thought was I must get back up from the fall. I have confidence in bitcoin, and I cannot be kicked out of this. Bearing this in mind, I noticed the increasing demand for bitcoin OTC (over-the-counter) trading and then I started OTC business, which supported me to carry on in the last round of bear market, and has been a steady source of income for me since then.

Zhao finally managed to pay back 150 million yuan debt in two and half years, and became one of the biggest OTC dealers in the country. Even more dramatic, he turned himself from the debtor into the shareholder of Bitfinex.

It is an accident for me to be the shareholder of the back-then world’s largest dollar-based exchange Bitfinex. In 2016, nearly 120,000 bitcoins worth over $70 million was stolen from Bitfinex, which was difficult for the platform to pay off in short time considering the total assets of the platform were $200 million. So they issued a bond token and converted the $70 million debt into tokens, and promised to buy them back. During the process, the platform also offered a plan for creditors to swap debt for equity, I did so and thus became a shareholder in Bitfinex.

Actually in that circumstance back then, few people could continue to believe a platform that had suffered such a big hack, just like the case of Mt.Gox. I was in a group of hundreds of Chinese traders on Bitfinex at that time, the majority of them exchanged the bond token for bitcoin, only three including me, converted them into shares. Since I communicate with Bitfinex a lot, thus I have some influence among the shareholders, though my stake is not that much.

Because of the murky relationship between Bitfinex and stablecoin USDT issuer Tether, controversies around the exchange abounds. Every new action made by the duo, if raises suspicions, Zhao would stand up to help clarify in the Chinese community.

Having been in the crypto space for such a long time, Zhao also shared his suggestion after experiencing all those ups and downs,

Always be prepared for bears in times of bull runs. It is easy to make money in bullish markets, during which, however, most investors are unprepared for bad situations, quotes Hegel “we learn from history that we do not learn from history.” A lot of people are too optimistic that they believe so much money flows in this time, there’s few possibility a bear market will come — every time people say, this time is different, but the bear came after all.

Zhao addressed his followers on Weibo (Chinese Twitter) that bitcoin market has 4 seasons, “we’re now still in the Autumn of bitcoin, next year would be the winter.” It meant 2019 would be a harder time in this veteran crypto investor’s view. Though the cryptocurrency can touch lower prices, he’s highly bullish with the prediction that bitcoin will reach at least 50k by 2021.

Be bullish in bearish times, otherwise I cannot make it. In this industry, no matter how much you lost, survival comes the first. Everyone is exploring his way. As long as you live, you will have good days.

Apart from the OTC business, Zhao is currently focusing most of his ambition on Renrenbit, a global digital assets service platform not limited to a wallet but also providing users with digital asset transfer, C2C lending as well as investment. For him, it seems the winter is not that suffering.

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