The movement for democracy in Hong Kong has continued into its fifth month. The tussles between the Hong Kong authorities and the protesters have become more violent, with both sides using escalating force to try and accomplish their goals.
And while much of the fight is physical — just look to the television feeds of Molotov cocktails, tear gas, barricades, water cannons, and so on and so forth — a report has indicated that the Hong Kong protests are starting to materialize in the realm of finance.
According to a report from the Hong Kong Economic Journal published on Monday morning, a Chinese language daily newspaper published in the Chinese regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has just cancelled a “business account that has been used during crowdfunding for protest activities, because the use of the account does not conform with the stated purpose when the account was opened.”
HKEJ reports that HSBC has cancelled a business account that has been used during crowdfunding for protest activities, because the use of the account does not conform with the stated purpose when the account was opened pic.twitter.com/4NB5PLJM74
— Aaron Mc Nicholas (@aaronMCN) November 18, 2019
Notably, a protest group that uses HSBC has claimed that its account remains functional. Though, many in the cryptocurrency community, including popular commentator Rhythm, have said that “Bitcoin fixes this.”
Bitcoin Value Proven by Hong Kong Protests
And sure it does. No central authority, as long as you’re using the right cryptocurrency wallet, can close your account or addresses. In fact, anyone, anywhere, with a connection to the internet and a smart device, can download a Bitcoin wallet, and start transacting from there.
In other words, the group using the purportedly banned HSBC account would not have the same problems if they were using Bitcoin.
This isn’t the first time that Bitcoin, or decentralized money in general, seemed useful for Hong Kong’s many activists. Per previous reports from Blockonomi, in October there was a pseudo-bank run, with local media reporting that citizens of the region have flooded ATMs to secure their wealth.
The issue is, there have been multiple reports that the ATMs have been running out of money, as many banks have been shut down or closed due to vandalism.
Bitcoin fixes this issue in Hong Kong because cryptocurrencies, if used correctly, allow one to always have control over their wealth, making bank runs impossible. Bitcoin is extremely hard to be seized by governmental agencies too.
This is relevant because asset seizure has become a relevant concern with protesters because of the activation of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, which permits the Hong Kong government to “make any regulations whatsoever” that may be in the “public’s interest” if tasked with addressing “an occasion of emergency or public danger.”
Adoption Has Begun
And it seems that some people are taking notice of Bitcoin’s value in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, LocalBitcoins, the peer-to-peer crypto exchange that values privacy, saw a record week, with Hong Kong dollar volumes reaching an all-time high.
Data from Coin Dance suggested that more than $12 million Hong Kong dollars (HK) worth of bitcoin were exchanged on LocalBitcoin between September 21st and September 28th.
Also, the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), a crowd-funded media outlet created to counter the erosion of the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, has doubled down on its support for Bitcoin donations. In fact, the outlet recently adopted “Bitcoin donations via BTCPay [to] help eliminate processing fees and allow readers to make fully anonymous contribution.”