China's Crypto Millionaires Are Using Bitcoin to Buy Real Estate Abroad


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The chives growing in one crypto tycoon’s California mansion carry a hidden message.

Guo Hongcai, a beef salesman turned early bitcoin adopter from China’s Shanxi province, is one of many freshly minted millionaires funneling parts of their wealth out of the country by purchasing real estate abroad.

In April, Hongcai sold 500 bitcoin in the U.S. then used that money to buy a 100,000-square-foot mansion in Los Gatos, a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, California. His Rolls-Royce, also purchased with the fruits of bitcoin arbitrage, sits in the driveway close to a small chives garden.

“It’s very normal to sell bitcoin in the U.S. After selling bitcoin, you can just buy anything you want,” he told CoinDesk.

Guo calls this secondary residence his “Mansion of Chives,” because the vegetable is also Chinese slang for crypto investors who prove vulnerable to big sell-offs.

As Chinese regulators clamp down on industry business on the mainland, crypto millionaires are turning to foreign real estate markets to diversify their holdings. Some purchase property directly with crypto, others like Hongcai use bitcoin to gain foreign currencies without going through a bank.

The founders of the U.S. crypto real estate startup Slice told CoinDesk roughly one-third of their prospective users hail from Asia, figures which include Chinese investors seeking tokenized property rights through Hong Kong securities brokers.

According to the South China Morning Post, real estate purchased in Hong Kong doesn’t require the same taxes and documentation as other financial assets held abroad. Chinese investment in foreign real estate, often through Hong Kong brokers, has been rising for years. Now early bitcoin adopters are utilizing new wealth for familiar patterns.