Interest in Bitcoin Continues to Rise Across the World, Especially in Venezuela and Russia

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):

New Zealand:

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!!

About Author: author Steve Toborov is the founder of, an ardent digital currency enthusiast and Forex trader. Read More...

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  1. Their seems to be a definite pattern of people using Bitcoin as a hedge against local economic chaos which is good to see. It means to me that all those people have enough trust and faith in Bitcoin as a store of value that they are choosing it over others.

    This shows great promise that Bitcoin is actually being used for its intended purpose and on a serious level.

    Like the article says, let the naysayers read those numbers and correlation. Bitcoin is growing far beyond just speculation..


  2. Russia has always been one of the most hostile regimes towards Bitcoin. There were drafts proposing to criminalize the use of Bitcoin with a penalty of up to 3-5M Russian rubles (over $50,000) or even imprisonment. But just a few days ago the last such proposal was scrapped, and it seems that the authorities are no longer trying to turn Bitcoin users into criminals.

    In July the Russian Ministry of Finance had stated that it intended to allow citizens to buy cryptocurrency for the purpose of reselling, exchanging, and using beyond Russia. At the same time, the same proposal suggested banning Bitcoin mining since it was considered as issuance of currency. And just a month later Alexei Moiseyev, Russia’s deputy minister of finance says that the ministry (which has long tried to pass a bill to ban digital currencies altogether) denounces any direct ban of Bitcoin.


  3. Hey, Nice article. I liked the way you have categorized the demand and usage of bitcoin in various countries, I was hoping to read about the rise in bitcoin demand as well as price in Turkey when it faced a military coup recently.

    This article shows newbies the demand and usage of bitcoin will only increase and it's still not late to be the adopters of digital currency as a whole. I am looking forward to share this article with some of my friends who aren't aware of bitcoin and are still "Nay Sayers".


  4. The LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer bitcoin trading will never slow down, as the trade will not slow down either. It is just a matter of the time when it will include the entire World, including the countries who stubbornly think they are somehow different so they can avoid all that fuss about crypto. It is not possible.

    The biggest excuse for not using the Bitcoin, or even banning it, is an involvement of the criminal organizations and theorists - aw, sure. Not like they ever bough guns with dollars...

    I don't think that the crime will be lessen or bigger in Colombia or Russia just because they have bitcoin.

    You made a very nice presentation of all the interesting countries.


  5. The spikes in bitcoin trading in the countries mentioned in this article show an increased faith in digital currencies overall. Where the local currencies have either fallen, been devalued or the inflation rate has skyrocketed it has become the 'hedge' of choice.



  6. The acceptance of bitcoins is majority countries is still unknown and there are different factors that drive users to accept the currency and trade in it. As the article mentions Columbia's bitcoin exchange website being forced to shut down, there are many more exchanges facing the wrath of Government officials as they fear the future of their own local currency which can affect their economy as well. They are right in their sense, considering bitcoins aren't a legal currency and are being used to avoid taxes. However, the number of trades that take place daily on localbitcoins has become a positive factor for many bitcoin users seeking to use the currency for its benefits.

    Russia has been very harsh towards bitcoins and the users and quote everyone as criminals, thus penalizing them if they even attempt to trade their coins for russian currency. Their ban on the currency hasn't affected the bitcoin trades but now them considering the use of virtual currencies raises many eyebrows as now their ban seems just a step to adopt blockchain technology in the future.


  7. I really feel sorry for those in Venezuela. Here in Panama there are thousands of Venuelans flocking here and they are exchanging their Bolívars for a mere pittance in USD. Those leaving the country may be able to retain their wealth if they exchange for bitcoins instead of COP of USD.

  8. When I look at the price of bitcoin in LocalBitcoins, it is always overppriced and it has a minimum amount purchase that is always above the real value of bitcoin.

    In our country, philippines, there is a website that is offering a payment platform in most of the daily needs of people, and I can consider it as a bitcoin exchanger, plus it is offering a very small interest in converting FIAT/philippine peso to bitcoin.

    Nobody can predict what is the future of bitcoin.