With Greece Defaults, Europeans Seek Safety in Bitcoin and Gold

| Updated
by Zhanna Lyasota · 3 min read
With Greece Defaults, Europeans Seek Safety in Bitcoin and Gold
Photo: afilitos/Flickr

As fears of a Greek exit from the eurozone have grown, the price of Bitcoin has been steadily rising.

Due to the Greek’s government capital controls, the citizens  can’t access their money, however they have an option of bringing Bitcoin into their life.

The price of Bitcoin has risen to its highest level since March while gold, the traditional safe haven, has barely budged. According to Bloomberg, Bitcoin is trading up 7 per cent from its level on June 26 at $260. Gold, however, is down 1 per cent from Friday to $1,173 a troy ounce.

Terry Hanlon, the President of Dillon Gage Metals, a wholesale precious metals trader in Dallas, said he had seen volumes grow by 70% in June from May. As said by Hanlon, that was not reflected in the price, because that tends to be dictated by futures speculation, which does not move in sync with trades of physical gold.

Coinbase announced on Monday that it will suspend transaction fees that are normally 1% for all purchases in euros through July 5.

Erik Voorhees, founder of the Bitcoin company ShapeShift, has urged the Bitcoin community to tweet at Greek citizens and send them $5 in Bitcoins using the payment platform ChangeTip.

However, leading Greeks to the digital currency is not simple. At the moment, there are very few ways for anyone in Greece to even obtain Bitcoins. Their banks are closed for a week; their ATMs are limiting them to withdrawing 60 euros per day; and as of Tuesday, they cannot use Greek credit or debit cards for online transactions. That means they cannnot even take Coinbase up on its offer.

“If you’re sitting in Europe, you’re seeing a timeline now—you saw Cyprus in 2013, now Greece in 2015—and you’re like, ‘Hmm, my economy isn’t performing particularly well either, and all my assets could be frozen or devalued, that’s scary.’ There’s little that [bitcoin companies] can do for people on the ground in Greece. The bigger deal here is if you’re sitting in Italy, Spain, or Portugal, and you’re getting a little nervous, maybe it makes some sense to put value into bitcoin where you’re less susceptible to these things. The doomsday way of saying it would be, ‘Do it before it’s too late,’” said Fred Ehrsam, cofounder and president of Coinbase, meaning that the company’s motive is to appeal to Europeans who are not in Greece.

It should not go unmentioned that European activity on Coinbase is up 300% in the last 48 hours, compared to an average week from the past couple months. It is evident that Bitcoin’s appeal for Greeks, or for anyone whose national banking system is faltering, is that it is decentralized, securely tracked on Bitcoin’s blockchain, and can be sent around with little or no fees and little or no transfer delays. Besides, the price of Bitcoin is up: it’s risen nearly 4% in the last day, 6% in the last week, and nearly 10% in the last month.

Bitcoin News, Cryptocurrency news, News
Zhanna Lyasota

Zhanna has a background working for an American multinational food and beverage company as well as at a number of translation agencies serving similar top multinational corporations. She enjoys discovering new cultures as well as learning new languages. She is also a lover of all things fabric and floral ,especially if they are design-related. Zhanna is a graduate of Belarusian State Economic University with a major in Intercultural Business Communications.

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