At the Garage café in Beijing's version of Silicon Valley, investor Chandler Guo is closely monitoring the price of his favorite investment: the bitcoin. The 30-year-old says he owns a thousand of them and has been watching their value shrink all week.
"I hope everyone just calms down," he said. "A lot of overseas traders are looking at China. They see the price falling here so that affects the whole world."
Chinese investors are driving the price of the virtual currency worldwide. Bitcoin is a popular way to invest in the country as people have few investment options and see it as a coveted commodity.
(Read more: Bitcoin price halves as China clampdown escalates)
This week the Chinese government unnerved bitcoin believers by stopping third-party payment systems from dealing in the digital currency. The move effectively makes it impossible for bitcoin exchanges in China to take in new yuan deposits—a key to driving prices higher.
Li Lin is waiting for the authorities' next move. Li is the CEO of Huobi.com, a bitcoin exchange that he founded just six months ago.
He minted souvenir bitcoins out of silver for his clients, believing bitcoins are just as valuable—if not more so—than precious metals. "Bitcoin is a strong competitor to gold," Li says. "It's virtual gold."