Bitcoin, cherished mainly by investors, is much more than a volatile investment. In Hong Kong, people are protesting against the government and bitcoin adoption is on the rise. Entering into the 12th week of protest against Chinese interfaces in Hong Kong, businesses are also starting to accept bitcoin and other cryptos.
For instance, Pricerite, a grocery store, announced that it will be accepting bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Following the announcement, Pricerite’s store based in the shopping center MegaBox, is on the move. According to the store, cash counters will be utilizing Bitcoin’s Lightning Network to immediately convert cryptos to Hong Kong Dollars (HKD).
Department store Pricerite has begun accepting Bitcoin (Lightning), Litecoin and Ethereum at its store at Megabox, a Facebook announcement reads. pic.twitter.com/yIRpxcGcTq
— Bitcoin Association 香港比特幣協會 (@bitcoinorghk) August 26, 2019
Genesis Block, an Over the Counter (OTC) trading center of digital assets in Hong Kong, had been providing significant assistance to people who are joining in the protests. Apart from setting up 14 cryptocurrency ATMs in Hong Kong, the exchange also tried to raise funds for protesters.
Genesis Block supplied water bottles with QR codes on an international level to collect funds from the recipients. The QR code allowed the recipients to donate cryptocurrency, Bitcoin Cash to fund supplies for the protesters. Upon successful accumulation of funds, the exchange also distributed umbrellas with bitcoin symbols to protesters.
Hong Kong protests started to take pace when the plan of local government to allow extraditions of suspects to China were carried out. In response, locals, not bearing the extradition bill into becoming a law, turned to streets.
Idea of handing over a criminal to China is strongly opposed by Hongkongers as they fear if the law passes, China will have complete control of Hong Kong’s economy. In addition to that, the Chinese could easily confiscate and freeze assets belonging to Hongkonger’s, if anyone is held convicted.
Apart from demonstrations, Hongkongers had also devised economic strategies to stand against the Chinese authorities and people have been withdrawing money via ATMs and banks to convert cash into U.S. dollars. Many of the business Tycoons in the region had already moved millions from local to foreign bank accounts.
To put pressure on the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam who welcomes the extradition bill, organized protest was planned over LIHKG, a social Hong Kong platform like Reddit. Movements and protests are discussed along with the progress made on the aforementioned thread.
Several students have also started participating in the movements, even the protest movement named Cashout HKD to USD was introduced by a current student. While ensuring that protests become troublesome for China, the student proposed fulfillment of 5 demands in order to stop the movement and wrap up. The demands are;
Completely withdraw the extradition bill; retract the proclamation that the protests were riots; withdraw criminal charges against all protesters; thoroughly investigate abuse of powers by the police; dissolve the Legislative Council by administrative order; and immediately implement dual universal suffrage.
Although local government has opened its arms to embrace the bill, the Hongkongers are going with much zest and zeal to protect their personal assets and send a message of civil disobedience to Chinese authorities. The locals are preparing themselves for the worst as a military crackdown against protesters is already on the cards.
Under the current circumstances, understanding the potential of cryptos is readily explored by the locals and attention is devoted to wide acceptance of the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap, bitcoin. As the cryptocurrency is truly decentralized and free of control or influence, it would be of interest to see how big the movement gets and what will be China’s next move to tackle bitcoin.