As Greece instituted a cap on bank withdrawals, ten times as many Greeks are registering to trade bitcoin on Bitcoin.de, a German marketplace. Bitcoin trades from Greece have risen 79% from their ten-week average on the world’s third-largest exchange Bitstamp.
Even trading platforms in China are getting interest. Shanghai bitcoin exchange, LakeBTC, is seeing a 40% increase in traffic from computers in Greece.
Due to the increase in demand, Polish exchange Bitcurex started marketing: “Sign up at Bitcurex and trade for 3 months for free. No Fees for Greece!”
A way to get bitcoin is buying from an online marketplace. In order to do that one must get a money wire from a bank, but no banks are open. Bitcoin.de said some people are still able to accesses online banking. LakeBTC said some are trying to find “LakeBankers” who are willing to sell some of their own bitcoin for cash or through Paypal.
Another issue for people trying to get bitcoin is there is only one bitcoin ATM in all of Greece. It is at a bookstore in Athens.
Another issue for the Greeks is that there are not many businesses that accept bitcoin.
According to BitcoinMaps, a registry for businesses accepting bitcoin, there are only six places that you can spend bitcoin. A family restaurant called Angel Tavern, a head-and-neck surgeon, and a yacht rental company.
Filip Godecki, the spokesman for the Bitcurex marketplace said, “I’m not so sure Greeks will start buying cheese with Bitcoin on Wednesday, But I think something changed in their minds [with the bank closures]. Greek people will start thinking about fiat currencies as something not so safe for savings.”
Even if bitcoin is not so great for savings it is a good short term option, because it can be transferred and moved more than the virtually frozen Greek currency.