Hong Kong protestors buy Bitcoin over fears of mainland control
Protests against a controversial extradition law resulted in Bitcoin trading
at a premium in Hong Kong. BTC has been trading between $75 and $160 over the global average on local exchange Tidebit, with many experts believing an even bigger premium will follow.
Protests over controversial law push millions into the streets of Hong Kong
Bitcoin has seen its value skyrocket in Hong Kong, where weeks of political tension have culminated in a city-wide protest. According to the BBC, almost 2 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong in response to a controversial extradition bill. The proposed law would allow Chinese authorities to extradite any Hong Kong citizen to mainland China—a notion many citizens believe would stomp on the freedoms they enjoy through Hong Kong’s autonomous status.
Protestors demanded the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive, Carrie Lam, as well as the complete removal of the proposed legislation. However, despite the government’s decision to suspend the law “indefinitely,” many residents are still worried about the increase in control China could have over the city. Many wealthy Hong Kong residents have already started moving their funds offshore. According to Reuters, the extradition bill would allow Hong Kong courts to freeze and confiscate assets related to crimes committed on the mainland beyond an existing provision covering the proceeds of drug offenses. Financial advisers and lawyers have already started gearing up for a mass migration of funds to other safe havens in Asia, particularly Singapore.
The tycoons turn to Singapore while the citizens turn to Bitcoin
While Hong Kong tycoons were busy with transferring their funds to Singapore banks, Hong Kong residents were also trying to find a way to diversify their assets and keep them away from prying Chinese hands. Since the start of the protests, a noticeable uptick in Bitcoin’s trading price has been noticed in Hong Kong. Local cryptocurrency exchange Tidebit has seen the price of BTC skyrocket, reaching prices almost $160 higher than the global average (roughly a 1.5 percent premium).
Mati Greenspan, the senior analyst at eToro, pointed out that 1 BTC was going for over 73,000 HKD, or around $9,337. While Bitcoin has seen its price grow significantly over the weekend, its price on Tidebit was $159 above its average global rate. There has also been a steady rise in demand for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on Local.Bitcoin.com and Paxful, with Hong Kong buyers looking to purchase the Bitcoin offshoot both for cash and other alternative means of payment. Many experts predict an even further increase in premium in Hong Kong, as its residents seem eager to continue the protests.
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