Global trading volumes on the peer to peer Localbitcoin exchange have nearly halved recently from $130 million to $75 million.
But some jurisdictions show a very different story. Canada in particular, has seen a considerable spike from around $1 million to $8 million per week.
This significant spike coincides with a leaked decision by the Bank of Montreal to ban all crypto purchases, whether through credit card or debit card.
Making the fourth biggest bank in Canada, and one of the top ten banks in North America, the only one as far as we are aware to in effect prevent individuals from using their own money in a very legal manner.
Their stock price has seemingly suffered as a result of their decision, although considering stocks are generally going down it might be just a coincidence.
A number of bitcoiners however have stated they are closing their accounts in protest because this goes far beyond loaned money, such as credit cards, to deciding what one can do with their actual own money.
But localbitcoin data reveals some more interesting results. Europe, for example, has seen a considerable spike too recently.
The reason is not fully clear at this stage, but while bitcoin has gone very much mainstream in America, it remains barely mentioned in Europe, including in the United Kingdom.
Much of the trajectory has been somewhat down in other nations as shown by Coin.Dance data, but Venezuela shows a significant and maintained upwards trend.
Suggesting bitcoin’s popularity there is considerably increasing amidst hyperinflation that has made Venezuelan money practically unusable.
Localbitcoin is a peer to peer marketplace where rather than instant trading, the exchange facilitates direct connections between individuals.
Once such connection is made, fiat can then be sent directly to the seller’s bank account. Rather than to the exchange itself as is the case in an instant exchange like Gdax.
Making the localbitcoin alternative somewhat appealing for many, especially if there is no other choice, but it does need more care as you never know who is at the other side of the transaction.
Most, therefore, would rather use established and regulated instant exchanges or brokers, but BMO is sending their customers to potentially less safe corners.
In doing so they remind us once again, just as Cyprus showed, Greece, and everywhere else in 2008, that the fiat numbers shown in bank accounts are mere promises which can vanish, or indeed can be restricted in usage, including the ability to withdraw.
The technical term is IoUs. That is, what we call money in bank accounts is actually a debt by the bank to us. They can of course just not pay and they have often done just that.
While cryptos are an actual, real, money. They are not debt, nor a promise. They are in effect like digital gold coins. And since they are digital, bank accounts are not necessary, although one can always use them, such as exchanges, for convenience, but at that stage they become IoUs.
Because at that point you’re no longer holding the digital coin, with you so having given it to the exchange which promises to give it back. Like banks, badly managed exchanges can too go bust, which is why the chorus for long has been that you should preferably hold your own private keys.