It seems LocalBitcoins has become the new hot (and illegal) business in Russia.
Just last week, the company saw record transactions when over 250 million rubles were exchanged for everybody’s favorite digital currency, equaling nearly $4 million in USD. Despite Russian regulators restricting access to the site back in September, the company is not only doing business, it appears to be thriving.
Russia has certainly had an up-and-down relationship with digital currency over the last four years. From enforcing penalties upon those using it to saying it’s “not so bad,” Russia just can’t seem to make up its mind. When Russian legislators banned the site a little over a month ago, LocalBitcoins released the following statement:
“Recently, Roskomnadzor, [decided] to block LocalBitcoins in Russia. For us, as well as for you, this decision was very unexpected. These instructions will help you to continue to use our resources, in spite of the [block on] LocalBitcoins.”
And while unending risks of potentially getting caught remain, several users have taken these instructions to heart and bypassed restriction to continue to utilize the site’s services.
For the most part, many countries across the globe seem to believe that bitcoin is no longer a magnet for financial crime or illicit cyber activity. Rather, the idea that bitcoin is now a potential aid against a dying global economy is becoming far more common.
One country exhibiting this attitude is Venezuela. One of the few countries to actually ban the coin straight out, several residents of the Latin American nation are taking a stand against the falling bolivar, the country’s native currency, and moving whatever assets they have into bitcoin, hoping to stay afloat. Pakistan is also showing renewed interested in virtual monies.
LocalBitcoins has also reported record transactions in Canada, where bitcoin activity continues to increase week by week. Canada has several ulterior methods of payment, bit bitcoin has managed to remain strong.