Do you still remember the clash between Hong Kong Chinese government and Hongkongers?
Last June 2019, Hongkongers protested over a controversial bill that lasted for more than six months. The Hong Kong 2019 extradition bill called Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) aims to apply a special surrender by a fugitive and give authority to Chinese law enforcement to deport the criminal from Hong Kong to mainland China. The bill caused discord between the Hong Kong citizens and the government that received broad criticism within the country and different cities abroad from different sectors, groups, and businesses.
Multiple protests have been made in Hong Kong and other cities abroad to show their strong contend to the extradition bill. There were hundreds of thousands to more than a million estimated protesters that flooded the streets and marched to call for Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive who proposed the bill to step down. Aside from the request of the protesters to formally withdraw the bill, there were also sets of demands cited by the leaders of the protest that aims for democratic rights and universal suffrage which will give citizens a piece of independence from China.
How did the Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin mass adoption started?
This chaos turned out to be the gateway to the mass adoption of Bitcoin and BitcoinCash and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin in Hong Kong.
During the protest, a group called "Genesis Block" has been distributing free bottles of water and umbrellas to the protesters in the streets of Hong Kong. The water bottles have a BCH logo with the label "free water" and next to the logo was a QR code that will direct to the website https://bch-hkg.com/. The website explains about BitcoinCash and educates the protesters on how to download a crypto wallet and adopt BCH to spread freedom.
The translated message on the website explained:
"Bitcoin Cash is peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic cash. It is decentralized and has no central authority. The entire system is maintained by volunteers located around the world. There are several benefits of adopting Bitcoin Cash in your business No matter what the amount you spend, the transaction fee is the same (almost zero). Settlement can be completed immediately, so it is impossible to reverse. It provides customers with better payment methods, and your customers will be able to pay safely and confidently. It's easy to accept Bitcoin Cash."
And this message is stated at the bottom of the website.
In October 2017, Genesis Block opened a working-space in Hong Kong which helped kickstart Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The operator of the establishment was said to be the first to initiate the mining of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) with the Chinese pool Viabtc. According to News.bitcoin.com chat with Wincent Hung (the BCH miner), Hung explained that: “
We aim at providing a space for the community to socialize and to increase the accessibility and liquidity of the cryptocurrency.” At first, it was just for fun for Hung and that was his way to advertise his business the Genesis Block.
Currently, the Genesis Block establishment caters services such as trading, a hot desk, co-working office space (for fintech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency-related projects), an event space, a mining rig reseller, and four cryptocurrency ATMs. The establishment also aims to promote cryptocurrency to the public and to correct the misunderstanding of many people about cryptocurrency. During its first week of the mining operation, his pool mined impacted the BCH network when it nearly reached ¾ of the whole network’s blocks. The establishment promoted a range of digital assets, but the majority of their promotions are for Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Going back to the topic, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has been promoted as the people's way to free themselves from China's system. The cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs) installed by the Genesis Block throughout the country helped provide funds and supplies for the people involved in the protest.
Moreover, the Hong Kong Bitcoin Association announced on Twitter that the department store Pricerite has begun accepting Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. Other cryptocurrencies such as Litcoin s(LTC) and ethereum (ETH) were also accepted at its store in the Megabox shopping center.
The translated details of the announcement are as follows:
By using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, the Pricerite system will be able to convert digital currency payments into Hong Kong Dollars in just a matter of seconds.
As the city suffered from liquidity issues by the China-U.S. trade war, many were worried that if the extradition bill passes, it will increase capital outflows, further reducing liquidity. The trade war affected the financial markets and as a consequence, rich people focused on how to move their wealth offshore, according to Reuters. Many protesters including middle-class Hongkongers withdrew large amounts of their money from Chinese banks and converted into US dollars as their new tactic.
At the surge of the protests, the Hong Kong stock market had noticed losses of up to 15%. Cryptocurrencies became the Hongkonger's last resort which resulted in an uptick in Bitcoin trading volume at a 4% premium on LocalBitcoins platform due to consistent protests. The newsbtc pointed out that civil crises worldwide have resulted in heightened adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Additionally, there are also groups of people who are using cryptocurrencies to fund charitable efforts like Snowdens Guardian Angels. They were families residing in Hong Kong who are accepting Bitcoin Cash as donations. Another non-profit organization called Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) is also accepting bitcoin cash donations. HKFP is run by independent journalists and during the protest, independent journalism was supported because they can tell the public how things are being discerned from a non-biased view. Other merchants in Hong Kong such as Craft Brew & Co, male-only salon Men’s Bash, Aerial Studios, and the bookstore cafe Garden Meow are also accepting Bitcoin Cash as a form of payment.
As Hong Kong regulates cryptocurrency and the increased adoption of digital currencies, will the city become the next cryptocurrency hub? Comment down your answers below.
Written by: @Jane