Amid continuing protests and increased surveillance by the state, Bitcoin trading volumes in Hong Kong have hit an all-time high on LocalBitcoins.
The popular peer-to-peer platform for trading Bitcoin registered its highest trading volume ever in Hong Kong last week.
Trading analyst Mati Greenspan tweeted that the platform recorded around HKD$13 million exchanged in just the past week, which is equal to roughly US$1.6 million [AU$2.38 million].
About $13 million HKD exchanged in the last week.
For a portfolio manager, BTC is still considered a risk asset but for some people, it is clearly treated as a safe haven.
— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) October 2, 2019
Bitcoin is still considered a risky asset in Hong Kong, but in the face of unrest and political uncertainty, people clearly view the digital asset as an alternative.
Although Bitcoin has yet to establish itself as a safe-haven asset, it does possess certain fundamentals that would be attractive to protesters.
Hong Kong protests spurring Bitcoin interest?
Hong Kong has been ground zero for one of the most prolonged periods of civil unrest in more than 50 years.
Protesters have been rallying since late March, when the general public started opposing a bill that could have allowed the extradition of those convicted of crimes to mainland China and Taiwan. The bill has been withdrawn, but the protests are still ongoing.
The protests in Hong Kong are viewed as the first massive uprising fully in line with the modern digital age.
The Chinese government is reportedly trying to oppress protesters through surveillance and tracking, and reports of “enforced disappearances” in the news have been on the rise.
Maintaining privacy and avoiding the effects of a possible state crackdown has become a priority for many, and, unsurprisingly, interest in cryptocurrencies is also growing.
Separation from the state with Bitcoin
Given that China monitors its citizens through their spending habits, cryptocurrencies allow them to move to a different form of transferring value that is not controlled by the state.
Now, it seems Hong Kong is slowly turning to cryptocurrencies as a means of financial independence.
A similar trend is visible in other countries like Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina. The common denominator in all of these countries is the political turmoil and elevated financial uncertainty.
LocalBitcoins has been posting near all-time high volumes for Bitcoin in these countries week after week as citizens flee from uncertainty and choose to place their trust in the largest cryptocurrency.
Even if it is still early for Bitcoin as a store-of-value, its use case as a non-sovereign asset is already visible.
Bitcoin’s most important property – censorship-resistance – is highlighted in the countries with the strictest capital controls and the highest level of perceived political corruption.