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For the past several months, Hong Kong has witnessed a massive flood of dissidents joining national protests against the Chinese government. Reportedly, a large chunk of the seven million residents of the city are participating in the protests that aim to defy the Hong Kong and the Chinese governments’ actions, which include the introduction of an extradition bill that would enable China to extract individuals from the special region and freeze their assets.
Both governments reacted by first calming the citizens and later by threatening them to back off. Recently, major clashes with the city’s law enforcing agencies have resulted in many protestants being injured.
The latest threat to these protestants came when news started circulating that many ATM’s in the city have started to run out of cash. A tweet by Hong Kong World City read “Run on banks: ATMs out of money across Hong Kong. Many queuing up to withdraw. Many have run out of cash.” HSBC ATM’s in particular have been reported to be empty for a long time now.
The Chinese government has also used the digital payment behavior of the citizens of Hong Kong to track their activities and to document their commercial routines in a bid to deal with the protestants in a better way. Under these circumstances, many residents have considered the prospects of using cryptocurrency to deal with their economic problems in the face of civil disobedience movements that show no sign of dying.
It could be months before any settlement could be reached with the Chinese government and until then, cryptocurrency seems to be the optimal method of trading and executing transactions for these dissidents.
Crypto advocates have stepped forward to make a case for an ideal use case for cryptocurrency. They suggest that Bitcoin and other digital assets will allow residents to access their funds without needing to go to the bank or ATM to claim liquid cash. Additionally, trading in cryptocurrency would mean that the Chinese government will have no way to track the payment behavior of the residents and it will essentially restrict their ability to freeze any account or asset in Hong Kong.
The past few days have witnessed a massive peak in Bitcoin trading. Hong Kong had hit an all-time high on peer-to-peer exchange of Local Bitcoins, with more than HK$12 million in BTC (worth roughly $1.5 million) trading in the past week alone.