Bitcoin price follows slide in Asia equity markets amid growing China protests against Covid-19 lockdowns

Bitcoin and Ether fell in morning Asia trading in line with declines in Hong Kong and other equity markets on concerns about spreading protests in China against Covid-19 lockdowns that developed into rare public displays of opposition to the ruling Communist Party.

Bitcoin fell 2.2% to US$16,095 by 10 a.m. before recovering slightly, while Ether fell 2.8% to US$1,162, according to CoinMarketCap

By midday in Asia, most top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization had fallen, with leading memecoin Dogecoin the only gainer. 

The Hang Seng Index tumbled 4% at the opening and recently traded off 2%, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index lost 0.6%.

The protests in China erupted on Friday following a fire that claimed the lives of at least 10 people in an apartment building in Urumqi in the north-western region of Xinjiang where many people had been locked inside their homes due to China’s zero-covid policy and unable to escape.

“The wide spread of incidents indicates a wider simmering resentment of China’s approach to Covid,” said Andrew Sullivan, a market analyst and former equities broker, in a statement shared with Forkast. “But China does not have the resources needed to switch to living with Covid.”

Protests were reported on university campuses and in as many as eight cities. Hundreds of protestors clashed with police in Shanghai, Reuters reported, adding that the protests are the most widespread sign of discontent towards the government since President Xi Jinping took power 10 years ago.

Protestors in Shanghai were confirmed by the Associated Press to be shouting: “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!” 

“The underlying cause is more ironical (but not surprising to us): full centralized control leads to full responsibility and then national movement targeting at the center when expectations are not met,” said Professor Yang Zhang, sociologist at the American University, School of International Service, in  Twitter thread on Monday.

Zhang added that in more centralized societies like China where intermediate organizations are absent people are able to organize quickly and spontaneously.

BNB drop

BNB, the native token of the blockchain operated by the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance Global Inc., fell 5.8% to US$297.23, making it one of the heaviest hit tokens in this morning’s drop in cryptocurrency prices.

However, the token is still up 14.3% over the past seven days and Binance released its proof of reserves on Friday to provide what it called increased transparency over user funds following the collapse of Bahamas-based exchange this month. 

XRP fell 4.61% to US$0.38 on Monday, but is up 6.9%  in the past seven days as the date approaches for both parties to file summary judgments in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit against Ripple Labs Inc. — whose payment network is powered by XRP. Both parties are set to meet on Dec. 2 to discuss case redactions.

Dogecoin bucked the downtrend, rising 7% to US$0.095 at 12:15 p.m. in Hong Kong and up 25% for the past seven days.

Monday’s gains follow long-time Dogecoin advocate and Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk tweeting that the “Tesla team just completed a 500 mile drive with a Tesla Semi weighing in at 81,000 lbs!”

The memecoin’s fortunes are often linked to that of Musk and its price saw significant gains when Musk’s purchase of Twitter was confirmed.

U.S. equities had a mixed day of trading on Friday in an abbreviated session due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%, while the S&P 500 Index fell less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq dropped 0.5%.

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