As the Greek financial crisis continues bringing down the value of stock prices and the euro world wide, use and interest in digital currency bitcoin has skyrocketed.
Bitcoin companies internationally are reporting huge spikes in numbers of new users and although all are not necessarily from Greece, experts say the Greek financial situation is no doubt the contributing factor to the increase.
Interest in cryptocurrency was growing in other EU nations such as Spain and Italy who are also facing financial problems similar to Greece, with debt repayment problems and poor economies,
Oliver Flaskaemper, CEO of German based Bitcoin.de, said the number of Greeks registering to trade bitcoins has risen ten fold. Slovenia based Bitstamp, the world's third largest bitcoin exchange, has report trades from Greece are up 79 per cent.
There has also been a 40 per cent increase by Greeks on Chinese bitcoin exchange LakeBTC, and Polish exchange Bitcurex reports being "flooded" with inquiries from Greece. Bitcurex wasted no time jumping on the Greek financial bandwagon, launching an advertising campaign under the slogan of “No Fees for Greece!"
However financial experts say that although the use of bitcoins in Greece has increased dramatically, it is limited because there is no ready access to bitcoins in the country, there are technology constraints, and there is only one Greek Bitcoin exchange and one bitcoin ATM in the whole country. Therefore most Greeks are concentrating on getting access to Euro notes to cover their daily needs.
Thanos Marinos, founder of BTCGreece, the sole bitcoin exchange in Greece, said although there have been massive increases in activity at the exchange, most Greek were unprepared for what has happened to the economy. He said although the threat of a Greek financial collapse had been played out for a long time, people were in shock as they never really expected or believed banks would shut or that the threat of being left out of the Eurozone and the euro was a real one.
In other EU nations such as Spain and Italy who are also facing financial problems with debt payment and poor economies interest in cryptocurrency is growing.