One of the reasons Bitcoin has grown so much in popularity is because it allows people to engage in financial transactions without having to go through financial intermediaries. Each man can be his own bank, storing money, transacting with others, and even engaging in transactions across international borders. That has made Bitcoin a target for governments that want to control all financial transactions within their territory. But despite their best efforts, they have been unsuccessful.
In any country that’s experiencing financial or political instability, Bitcoin has often been a remedy to allow ordinary citizens to go about their daily lives with relative normality. From Argentina to Zimbabwe to Venezuela, countries with failed monetary policies or repressive political regimes have been a natural outlet for Bitcoin. With the recent protests in Hong Kong and fears of a harsh backlash from the Beijing government, Hong Kong is the next area to see a renewed interest in Bitcoin.
Since the protests have gotten underway, trading volumes of Bitcoin in Hong Kong have skyrocketed to near record levels. Many Hong Kong residents are understandably afraid of losing their wealth in the event that China cracks down on dissent in Hong Kong. Everyone wants to make sure that their money is safe. But Bitcoin also likely plays an important role in allowing protesters to transfer money among themselves and ensure that their operations remain fully funded and able to take place.
That just underscores that Bitcoin can be all things to all people. From a useful currency for online transactions, to a popular investment asset, to a store of value during times of turmoil, to a way to circumvent capital and currency controls, Bitcoin can play several different roles all at the same time. And as long as governments around the world seek to exert more control over the monetary arena, Bitcoin will be there to provide consumers with an alternative.