Global Unrest: Hong Kong Citizens Lose Access to Cash As Bitcoin Advocates Highlight Benefits of Cryptocurrency
Brutal clashes and escalating political conflicts are sending shots around the world – from Hong Kong to Egypt to Iraq – as citizens attempt to push back against government corruption, tyranny, price hikes and unemployment. Anti-government sentiment has set off a mix of pro-democracy rallies, angry looting and peaceful protests in Peru, France and Ecuador.
According to Al Jazeera, hundreds of protestors fighting against rampant corruption and high unemployment rates have been taken into police custody in Iraq amidst ongoing protests and a violent government crackdown. Nearly 100 Iraqis have lost their lives and around 4,000 are injured. The nation’s government is trying to control the situation by shutting down internet services, so that it becomes more difficult for people to plan and coordinate demonstrations.
More protesters have been killed in Iraq despite the prime minister's plea for calm and promise of reform.
Fueled by anger over poor living conditions and corruption, anti-government protests erupted across the country earlier this week and continue to escalate. pic.twitter.com/O5VAGoypqj
— DW News (@dwnews) October 4, 2019
New York Times journalist Shannon Sims reports that streets are shutting down in Ecuador as protestors strike against increasing gas prices.
Breaking from #Ecuador:
Major crisis happening here. All streets are shut down due to a transit strike to protest the price of gas. I am in a small town and unable to leave. There are no taxis, no buses, and violence is starting to break out in the major cities. https://t.co/sIElwEszdQ
— Shannon Sims (@shannongsims) October 3, 2019
France marks its 47th week of non-stop protests against controversial government policies.
They describe Hong Kong as having URBAN WARFARE atm.. yet ignore this in Paris a few hundred miles away from our capital.
— Adam Brooks (@EssexPR) October 5, 2019
In Haiti, political unrest and violence continues to claim lives. The Miami Herald reports,
“At least 17 people have been killed and 187 have been injured during recent violent protests in Haiti demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse.”
Protests in #Haiti's capital today demanding an end to the US/Trump-backed corrupt regime of @moisejovenel. It is widely known that Trump admin gave pledge of support to regime in exchange for vote to invoke Rio Treaty at OAS for military intervention in #Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/iyiGSmrYJL
— Haiti Information Project 📡 (@HaitiInfoProj) October 4, 2019
Citizens of Peru are holding demonstrations against the privatization of the public Lima Drinking Water and Sewerage Service.
Political unrest has also erupted in Peru following President Vizcarra’s decision to dissolve congress.
Protests in Peru after President Vizcarra dissolves congress, prompting rebel lawmakers to suspend him and appoint another leader https://t.co/bMrOQ5VLXq pic.twitter.com/1VAzuKpH89 #news #breakingnews
— Rik Knives (Riki) (@rikknives) October 1, 2019
US Senator Jeff Merkley shares updates from Egypt, noting,
“Egyptian leaders are still holding more than 2,200 people weeks after anti-corruption protests broke out in Cairo and other cities. These foreign ‘leaders’ Trump chooses to cozy up with are autocrats who quash even the slightest whisper of dissent.”
Protests broke out in Egypt with demonstrators calling for dictator el-Sisi to step down. Around 2,000 people have been arrestedpic.twitter.com/JP9XncTEiJ
— Alfons López Tena #FBPE (@alfonslopeztena) September 28, 2019
In Hong Kong, a 14-year-old was shot during a violent protest. The Mass Transit Railway system was shut down due to ongoing clashes sparked by a backlash against China and outrage over a new law banning face masks.
A 14-year-old was shot and the entire MTR system was shut down as protests broke out across Hong Kong in response to Carrie Lam’s anti-mask law, a move meant to “deter” violence. https://t.co/pIiIdQtGvU #HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/DQhpEqkYP8
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) October 4, 2019
Cryptocurrency advocates are highlighting why Bitcoin and other digital assets are vital to regions experiencing political turmoil because they allow people to maintain access to their funds without needing to go through a bank or other intermediary. They also eliminate the risk of having funds frozen or seized by a government.
There are also multiple reports of Hong Kong ATMs running out of cash due to the uncertainty and instability in the region.
Should we all line up at ATMs as an act of civil disobedience?
Source- LIHKG pic.twitter.com/DtC9c0toUi
— Hong Kong World City 🖐🏻😷☔️ (@HKWORLDCITY) October 5, 2019
Morgan Creek Digital partner and Bitcoin bull Anthony Pompliano says the cash crunch demonstrates a key strength of crypto assets.
“Imagine not being able to access your own money. Bitcoin fixes this.”
Goldman Sachs reports that investors in Hong Kong have transferred around $4 billion to neighboring Singapore amid increasingly violent protests.
Bitcoin trading volume in Hong Kong has reached an all-time high on peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins, with more than HK$12 million in BTC worth roughly $1.5 million trading in the past week.
However, not all reports attribute the BTC spike to political unrest. Dlab data scientist Matt Ahlborg reports that the BTC price surge in Hong Kong may have been due to a whale who was buying the dip.
“I looked into the Hong Kong Dollar’s (HKD) record week on LocalBitcoins last week and was put into contact with a pro trader who claims they were the counterparty to most of this volume. The trader claimed that most of the volume was caused by a single customer who conducted ‘over 30 trades’ during the week. When I asked if they knew the reason for the trades, their response was that the customer essentially ‘bought the dip’ (paraphrased)”
[1/6] I looked into the Hong Kong Dollar’s (HKD) record week on LocalBitcoins last week and was put into contact with a pro trader who claims they were the counterparty to most of this volume. The trader claimed that most of the volume was caused by a single customer who… pic.twitter.com/E6vC9GDSDu
— Matt Ahlborg [UsefulTulips.org] (@MattAhlborg) October 4, 2019