I came from China and am a international student in U.S.. My family would like to transfer some money to me for my tuition and living expenses.

Transferring via banks incurs fees, and loss of money value due to the difference between change rates from RMB to U.S. dollars and the other way around.

Can bitcoin be used for transferring money with less cost? I am totally new to Bitcoin, and will appreciate your advice.


4 Answers 4


You can certainly transfer fees internationally with Bitcoin, and in many cases this is a great way to do so.

Keep some things in mind, however. For one, you will have to pay conversion fees when you convert from currency, to Bitcoin, and then back into currency.

Also, with some exchanges and traders it can take awhile to convert your Bitcoins into money. The Bitcoin system is growing, but it's not as efficient as a bank or wire transfer, at least not yet.

In the meantime, as you are trying to conduct your transfer, Bitcoin prices can swing up and down. If Bitcoin prices go up, good for you, you'll make extra money. If Bitcoin prices drop, however, you could end up losing more money than if you just went with a bank.

If you are new to Bitcoin, I'd wait another semester before using this method. You should familiarize yourself with the whole system first before conducting such transactions.

  • Nicely balanced answer mate :-)
    – cdecker
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 20:13

Yes. This is a textbook benefit of Bitcoin. The only fees you will see in transfer are

  • cost to convert CNY to Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin transaction fee (0.0001 BTC generally)
  • cost to convert Bitcoin to USD, if you can't find some way to spend your Bitcoin without conversion

You're likely to pay only a couple percent tops, so it's guaranteed to be cheaper.

  • Thanks! (1) If the Bitcoin has to be converted to USD in the last step, what will the change rate from CNY to USD following the three steps with Bitcoin in the middle be like? How is it compared to the change rate from CNY to USD directly not via Bitcoin? (2)Is there a tutorial to do the three steps? I am totally new to Bitcoin.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 1:48
  • You should look up some of the exchange web sites. I think there is a Chinese exchange now, but I don't recall its name.
    – Colin Dean
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 3:22
  • I found this one linked from Reddit today. I cannot vouch for it, as I have not used it: btcchina.com
    – Colin Dean
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 12:40

Conversions between Bitcoin and fiat do incur friction. Sometime this friction is in cost, convenience, delays, or a combination of all thread.

But for instance if the potential that delays occur would not be a huge problem then you could try to minimize the cost (or even earn a premium) by making local trades. With a local listing there's no guarantee that a trade can be found promptly or that the price required to attract a trading counterparty is desirable but when conditions are favorable bitcoin can serve quite well as a remittance method.

Things can vary day-to-day, and location-to-location. Because there may not be many buyers willing to pay cash in China for a local trade, it may be possible that Bitcoins there can be bought below spot. Then the bitcoins can be sold abroad -- with the possibility of the selling price being above spot price even.

So there is potential upside to using Bitcoin as a type of remittance as you describe.


In china use https://www.btcchina.com/ I believe they are charging 0.3% ATM.

In US use Coinbase, I believe they charge 1%. As others suggest confirm your are getting a reasonable exchange rate on each conversion.

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