Bitcoin is not trading at a premium in Hong Kong, ‘frightened’ residents aren’t flocking to the digital currency and most protestors probably don’t know what Bitcoin is.
That’s the frank assessment given by the head trader at Genesis Block, one of Kong Kong’s leading over-the-counter Bitcoin trading companies.
Charles Yang was responding to numerous reports in crypto and mainstream media which have claimed the unrest is driving up the price of Bitcoin.
It appears the first report which stated Bitcoin was trading at a 4% premium in Hong Kong was published by Bloomberg last week.
“So the protests, obviously it’s very scary for a lot of people, especially foreigners, they don’t really see what’s going on… They only see the nasty videos right? Like blood on the streets,” says Yang.
“It is definitely escalating, like living here I definitely feel a lot more worried these few weeks than when it first started, but most people think in the crypto space when there’s panic in the mass market a lot of attention goes to things that are decentralised, so Bitcoin’s obviously a way for people to store value.
“But I see a lot of retail clients in Hong Kong and there’s definitely not a sign of this panic buying.”
Yang, who lives in Hong Kong, was asked to respond to the reports in an interview with influential YouTuber Michael Gu.
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“I think having your political views is one thing, it doesn’t mean that automatically it brings attention to Bitcoin, I think the average person that walks down the street protesting, they don’t even know what it is.
“They probably still think of it as a speculative asset, they don’t even know that it’s decentralised or something that’s related to governments.
“I contacted Bloomberg about where they got those numbers, it’s probably Local Bitcoins or some local exchange like Thai Bit, but quite frankly the volume values very low and we would never place our bid ask spreads based on those prices.”
Don’t believe everything they say about China either.
Yang told Michael Gu that Bitcoin has been trading at a discount in Chine, despite many in the cryptocurrency predicting the devaluation of the Chinese currency will result in investors pouring capital into Bitcoin to get money out of the country.
Yang says Genesis Block has been buying Bitcoin from China to take advantage of the discount.
“Trump, he was obviously ramping up the trade war and FX kind of went crazy, so Renminbi depreciated a lot, people say China’s manipulating it. Korean Won did the same thing so everything went from premiums in July to discounts in August.
“Clearly crypto, at least in the Chinese market, it’s shown that the inefficiency is still there.
“Everyone would have thought it would go the other way. Chinese people start freaking out, they want to exit Renminbi, they need to buy crypto, so you would think premiums are there but it just didn’t happen.”