With bank doors slammed shut, frantic Greeks are turning to online trading platforms to see if Bitcoin is a better bet than the Euro.
Ten times as many Greeks are registering to trade bitcoins on the German marketplace Bitcoin.de than usual, according to CEO Oliver Flaskaemper. Bitcoin trades from Greece have shot up 79% from their ten-week standard on Bitstamp, the world’s third-largest Bitcoin market.
Even trading platforms in China are getting interest. LakeBTC, headquartered in Shanghai, is seeing a 40% boost in visitors using computers in Greece.
Over the weekend, the Polish exchange Bitcurex got overwhelmed with emails from Greeks. Among their questions:
- “Is Bitcoin a legal currency in EU?”
- “Can I use Bitcurex as a bank account?”
- “Do you have a Bitcoin ATM network in Greece?”
Bitcurex then started marketing directly to Greeks on its website: “Sign up at Bitcurex and trade for 3 months for free. No Fees for Greece!”
For those questioning, yes, Bitcoin can be spent legally in Europe. And yes, a digital Bitcoin wallet can be used as a sort of access-from-anywhere bank account.
The simplest way to understand Bitcoin is to think of it as electronic cash. You can spend it using any smartphone or computer.