The situation in Hong Kong continues to escalate. The protests began months ago when China wanted to implement a bill allowing for the extradition of Hong Kong citizens to the mainland. Even though this proposition was withdrawn, the protesters are not backing down from their stance against some of the territory’s other laws and regulations. The protests have at times become fierce, and violence has spread along with numerous arrests and attacks.
Yesterday it was reported that 10% of the 3,300 ATMs in Hong Kong were destroyed over the weekend as a result of vandalism on the part of protesters. Another 5% of the operational ATMs were supposedly out of cash, contributing to the fierce public reaction. Chinese banks are reportedly being attacked as well.
Even though the strikes were meant to oppose the extradition of individuals to mainland China, another part of the bill was overlooked. A money-related provision was included in the proposed law, stating that all assets of suspects can be frozen. This led to an immediate reaction from some of the tycoons of Hong Kong.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were reportedly moved out of the country. Interestingly enough, after this was brought to the public’s attention in mid-June, it triggered a surge in the number of Bitcoin transactions as well. The volume almost doubled in the following few weeks, reaching more than 7,000,000 per week.
Hong Kong’s Standpoint
The direction of the protests in Hong Kong is unclear. While it started as a peaceful demonstration against a proposed bill, it now continues with new restrictions. The government introduced an anti-mask law, which led to unusual protests comprised of masked individuals. As they quickly turned violent again, a few people were arrested and lots more injured. Government officials claimed that the territory was “being pushed to the verge of a hazardous situation.”
The protests have entered a new phase. Technology has been introduced that has impacted both the protesters and the authorities. With messaging applications like Telegram being monitored and administrators of chat groups arrested, tensions are moving online. Bitcoin’s involvement is also surging, as it is increasingly viewed as a favorable alternative to other payment methods. As the public’s trust in their government declines and local ATMs appear to be short on cash, Bitcoin’s transaction volume is rising.
Source: Jordan Lyanchev - Cryptopotato