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Soft Fork: The curious case of Q-coin

Quick Take

  • Q-coin was an early experiment in the adoption and use of virtual currencies
  • It was created by Chinese Internet giant Tencent in 2002
  • By the mid-2000s secondary economies began forming around Q-coins and speculators started trading them

In 2002 Tencent Holdings, one of China’s Internet giants, launched its own digital currency, the Q-coin (sometimes referred to as QQ Coins) for its QQ social media platform.

The Q-coin was a virtual currency used on Tencent’s many online gaming platforms. Chinese gamers would buy physical prepaid cards and load up their digital wallets with Q-coins to buy digital weapons and virtual cosmetics items.