Bitcoin’s popularity seems to be rising in Kenya, Malaysia, Russia and Venezuela - at least according to trading data coming out of LocalBitcoins.
Two weeks ago, bitcoin trading on LocalBitcoins in Kenya reached at all-time high of 10,576,927 Ksh, however, for the week ending 2016-07-23, bitcoin trading volumes in the country totaled 10,239,393 Kenyan Shillings - second best week since 2013.
LocalBitcoins volume data coming out of Russia for the week ending 2016-07-23 also showed the second-highest figure at 185,250,939 Roubles.
The biggest surprise this week came out of Malaysia, where bitcoin trading is off the charts. LocalBitcoins volumes for the past week showed a new all-time high of 737,218 Malaysian Ringgits worth of bitcoin turnover in the country.
So, one might pose this question: why is bitcoin so hot in Malaysia?
For starters, the ringgit has been on a losing streak since the US authorities announced a major money laundering and embezzlement investigation into state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which allegedly laundered about $1 billion of the misappropriated funds through banks in the U.S. The Malaysian ringgit dropped about 2.7% last week - the biggest drop since September - due to the negative press surrounding the international investigation, TheMalayOnline reports. Low oil prices are also having a negative impact on the outlook of the Malaysian economy and currency, as Malaysia is Asia’s only major net oil exporting nation.
It really isn’t surprising that bitcoin is increasingly seen as a safe-haven asset. A similar pattern was also observed in Norway. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, the Norwegian krone took a massive hit and LocalBitcoins volume in Norway spiked immediately:
Like Kenya and Russia, bitcoin trading in Venezuela is thriving. Another all-time high was recorded for the week ending 2016-07-23:
Charts source: Coin.dance