Ever since Russian Internet providers decided to ban access to LocalBitcoins, there have been questions regarding the popularity of cryptocurrency in the country. Although trading volume remained strong during the first week after the ban, things seem to be dropping slightly. No reason to panic just yet, though, as the overall volume, is still very strong.
Bitcoin In Russia Remains Popular Despite Hurdles
When stating there is a slight dip in volume, it really is a minor blip on the radar. Compared to the previous weeks, there has only been a marginal difference, which is not entirely surprising. LocalBitcoins went as far as posting tips on how to bypass the ISP blockade, to begin with. Since a lot of people use VPNs in Russia already, it is only a minor step to take.
Looking at the numbers, last week saw a volume of 235,168,459 Ruble, which is quite a staggering amount. A quick conversion to EUR will tell us this equals over three million EUR, spread out over seven days of trading. In fact, that is well over the average volume for most other European exchanges in the world today.
As is usually the case when the government wants to prohibit something, it will only gain more traction. Russia has been going back and forth on what to do with Bitcoin, and none of their decisions have ever impacted cryptocurrency in a negative manner. This recent blockade by internet providers is nothing to be worried about just yet.
All of this goes to show that arbitrary internet “rules” will only go so far. The Internet has a way of routing itself around any superficial blockade thrown up by governments or service providers. Restricting access to a particular website may seem like a solid idea on paper, but with people bypassing it so easily, it also makes government officials look like fools.
More importantly, the daily LocalBitcoins volume in Russian Ruble seems to be on the rise as well. One Reddit user pointed out how the RUR market is catching up to the USD market rather quickly. According to him, the daily trading volume is close to half of the USD market. Quite an interesting development, and something to keep an eye on moving forward.
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