It doesn’t look like peer-to-peer bitcoin trading on LocalBitcoins will be slowing down anytime soon. New volume records were posted for last week in countries like Colombia, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine and Venezuela. New records are now a weekly occurrence in Russia and Venezuela.
Colombia’s only bitcoin exchange, Colbitex, was forced to close its doors at the beginning of August due to pressure from Colombian financial regulators. Prior to the Colbitex closure, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC), which oversees financial markets in the country, issued a warning on bitcoin, stating that the digital currency is not legal tender and that digital currency businesses are not regulated.
Colbitex was the only startup in the country attempting to build a proper trading venue for the virtual currency, but that effort was stifled and virtual currency enthusiast in Colombia only have LocalBitcoins as an alternative. The Colbitex closure may partially explain the pop in volume on LocalBitcoins for the week ending 2016-08-27, which came in at 209,783,856 Colombian Pesos ($71,704):
On the 11th of August, 2016, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 2 per cent, citing “political risks” and an uncertain prospects for global growth. RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler said that further monetary easing will be necessary and that “A decline in the exchange rate is needed.”
Wheeler’s dovish statements may have played a role in the massive spike in bitcoin trading that took place on LocalBitcoins last week, with turnover coming in at 199,402 NZD ($144,550.50):
There is no other weekly LocalBitcoins volume chart on Coin.dace that looks anything like the Russian weekly chart, which shows an 8th consecutive record of 223,521,442 Russian Roubles worth of bitcoin trades for last week:
Even die-hard skeptics in Russia may take a good, hard look at the digital currencies, following the recent comments made by Alexei Moiseyev - Russia’s deputy minister of finance - on virtual currency regulations to Russian news agency TASS, on Friday:
“The law is most definitely ready, but we won’t be hasting it, and it will most likely change as the discussion goes on. Now I’m going to have a series of meetings with experts and think twice about what to do. I’d say that considering the development of technology, a direct ban won’t be a really right move.”
Bitcoin is continuing to gain popularity in Sweden and even financial institution like SEB Group, which invested $4 million in digital currency payment processor Coinify at the beginning of this month, are getting into digital currencies.
Sweden has been in a negative interest rate regime since February of last year. There are now signs of deteriorating liquidity conditions in Sweden’s bond markets and investors may now be considering digital currencies as an alternative asset class.
LocalBitcoin’s volume in Sweden hit an all-time high last week of 2,846,155 Swedish Krona ($335,686):
The new LocalBitcoins all-time high in Ukraine was nothing like the spikes observed in New Zealand and Colombia, but this reading indicates that bitcoin is gaining ground in impoverished Eastern European countries as well.
For the week ending 2016-08-27, LocalBitcoins turnover in Ukraine came in at 764,973 Hryvnia ($29,951):
Against the backdrop of triple-digit inflation, food riots, 50 per cent minimum wage hikes and Venezuelans running across the Colombian border to buy basic necessities, LocaBitcoins volume in the country hit another all-time high last week of 163,732,154 Bolivars:
That is approximately $16,455,908, according to the official VEF/USD exchange rate of 0.1 - more than double the LocalBitcoins volume in the USA for the same week, which came in at $7,015,712!!