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Asian Markets’ Appetite for Cryptos on the Rise, Pushing Bitcoin Premium Surge

Bitcoin has surged above $9,000 to set a fresh year-to-date high since Sunday. The uptick momentum is still going on these days. Amid the bullish trend in bitcoin market, bitcoin’s popularity seems to be on the rise, particularly in Asian markets.

According to crypto analyst Mati Greenspan, bitcoin is currently trading at a premium of about $160 in Hong Kong. He explained that a bitcoin is going for 73,120 HKD ($9,337) on the local crypto exchange TideBit, $159 more than Coindesk’s current rate.

This eToro’s senior market analyst suggested that it was bitcoin’s reaction to crisis as a safe haven asset. Hong Kong has been under global spotlight recently for the mass protests against the extradition bill. Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong demonstrated against the proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

As the fears rise that Beijing’s ability to get locals’ assets once the extradition law comes through, some Hong Kong residents have started moving their assets abroad, according to a recent report by Reuters. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is obviously an alternative for transfer of assets for residents in this financial hub to resort to, which may be the push behind the bitcoin premium there.


Bitcoin transaction volume in Hong Kong has seen spike since April (Source: Coin Dance)

Apart from Hong Kong, several Asian countries have also seen bitcoin premiums in their markets.

A recent analysis by Binance Research questions east Asia countries’ stance of going “all-in” on cryptocurrencies, as observations indicated the bitcoin premium reaches as much as 5% in Japan, South Korea and China.

“The “Kimichi Premium” returns, the price of Bitcoin (BTC/KRW) in South Korean exchange Bithumb has recently seen premiums of up to 5% to that of BTC/USD spot price, reaching its highest level in 7 months,” reads the report.

Japan’s popular crypto exchange Bitflyer has also experienced a premium of 5%; and in China, Tether’s OTC premium (USDT/CNY) rose to its highest level in 2019, which showed the willingness for new money to enter the crypto market (Note: Chinese residents cannot purchase bitcoin directly with fiat money and have to buy stablecoin Tether first to bypass the bar).

Asian markets are playing a major role in pushing up the price of bitcoin. According to the 2019 Consumer White Paper released by the Japanese government hours before press time, it was found that the 2018 consumer consultations on virtual currency reached 3,657 cases, about 1.7 times the level of the previous year.


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