Hong Kong has been in a state of civil unrest since an extradition bill was proposed in February, and protests have intensified in recent weeks.
Essentially, if the extradition bill were passed then Hong Kong natives could be deported to mainland China for any crime. Hong Kong and mainland China have different laws, but this extradition bill would basically nullify Hong Kong laws since people would have to go to court in China instead of Hong Kong.
The fear over the extradition bill has caused capital flight, meaning Hong Kong citizens are trying to move their money offshore to protect it, just in case the extradition bill becomes law.
The bill was withdrawn early last month, but protests have since adopted broader pro-democracy lines and become more sporadic, with yesterday being the most widespread in four months.
Bitcoin is perhaps one of the best ways to move money offshore, since it is instant, secure, and pseudo-anonymous. Indeed, in recent weeks Bitcoin trading volume in Hong Kong on the popular peer to peer exchange Localbitcoins has been rising, with 172.8 Bitcoins worth USD 1.42 million traded in the last week, as opposed to typical volumes before the protests of USD 0.2-0.5 million per week.
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