Bitcoin has developed a slight premium in one of Hong Kong’s crypto exchange TideBit where one BTC is currently trading at circa 63,000 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), worth about $8,030.
While on global exchanges bitcoin is at about $7,930 at the time of writing, with a premium of between $100 and $120 for much of earlier today.
The premium is relatively small, standing at just $3 for eth, presumably because as a trading centre Hong Kongers can easily access global exchanges.
Likewise HKD trading pairs are hard to come by because they presumably just use USD pairs for trading.
There’s some unrest ongoing in Hong Kong, however, which could potentially lead to some bitcoin hedging.
Mostly young people in their 20s have taken to the streets to protest a proposed law that would allow extradition to China.
“The opposition to the bill is widespread and comes from all sections of society, where people fear China’s justice system is deeply flawed and will lead to further erosion of Hong Kong’s judicial independence,” says the BBC.
Apparently protesters removed bricks from pavements to build a wall/barricade according to a local paper.
Clashes then followed later in the day, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors.
The second reading of the bill has now been delayed with protesters demanding it is scrapped.
Chinese media appears to have not covered the protests, with even the English version of People’s Daily not mentioning the unrest.
This is while growth in Hong Kong has slowed down to 0.6% from 4.6% last year, while inflation has suddenly jumped in April to 2.9%, meaning the economy is contracting in real terms.
“The legislation has become a lightning rod for concerns about Beijing’s increasing control over the semi-autonomous territory,” the Evening Standard says, further quoting an 18 year old protester:
“We’re young but we know that if we don’t stand up for our rights, we might lose them.”
Hong Kong was under British rule until 1997 when it was passed on to China under a lease agreement of rotating 100 years oversight between London and Beijing.
China has largely given Hong Kong autonomy under a one country two systems rule, but perceived interference by Beijing led to protests in 2014 as well.
HKD is meant to be pegged to the dollar, with Hong Kong a regional hub where blockchain tech is concerned, hosting a number of crypto companies.
So far much of the protests have been generally peaceful, but whether this premium indicates growing demand, remains to be seen.