The ongoing protests in Hong Kong could be termed as a blessing in disguise for crypto worshippers as they have seen mainstream adoption of cryptos soar in the recent past.
According to Yahoo Finance, the political and economic turmoil in the city that is now in its 12th week, has seen various retail outlets and the wider public begin accepting crypto in preparation of further financial uncertainty and to avoid government surveillance.
According to the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, department store Pricerite has started to accept payments in cryptocurrencies, claiming to be the first retail store in the region to do so.
Department store Pricerite has begun accepting Bitcoin (Lightning), Litecoin and Ethereum at its store at Megabox, a Facebook announcement reads. pic.twitter.com/yIRpxcGcTq
— Bitcoin Association 香港比特幣協會 (@bitcoinorghk) August 26, 2019
The firm has also just opened its third new New Retail concept store, at MegaBox in Kowloon Bay. Crypto payments will be converted into HKD in real time at the store’s cash registers. Customers with cryptocurrency wallets supporting the Lightning Network will be able to complete Bitcoin transactions in seconds.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are accepted by the chain and makes the store one of the first bonafide stores to utilize the Lightning technology. It remains to be seen whether this move has been tied to the recent protests but the underlying trend is one of increased crypto adoption in Hong Kong.
Yahoo Finance adds that Genesis Block, a crypto ATM provider, noted a decline in machine usage due to the protests but this was primarily a result of their geographic locations. The firm has also been backing the protesters by distributing supplies. The firm has been distributing water bottles and umbrellas emblazoned with Bitcoin Cash mentions and a QR code to fund further supplies.
Although the firm says that the amount of BCH they have received is minimal, they argue that it is increasing the awareness of digital currencies.
Also, local exchanges, such as TideBit and peer-to-peer exchanges set up by those on LocalBitcoins.com, have started to see increased volumes and Bitcoin price premiums on certain days, signs that imply increased demand for the asset.
Although it is unlikely that major firms in Hong Kong will adopt cryptocurrencies, should the protests persist, the need for a decentralized money may only grow.