Bitcoin Usage is 'Really High At the Moment', eToro's Senior Analyst Reveals

Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, a leading social trading platform, has revealed that Google searches for bitcoin (BTC), have increased due to the current rally which appears to have run out of steam.

Greenspan pointed out that cryptocurrency trading volumes have started to pick up, however both trading activity and online searches about cryptocurrencies are “nowhere near” what they were when digital asset prices recorded record-level highs in late 2017.

Greenspan, a licensed portfolio manager, noted that “volumes across” digital asset exchanges (during the last 3 months) are “at their highest levels” since April 2018. Bitcoin usage is “also really high at the moment”, the former financial investments advisor at Ava FX mentioned. In fact, bitcoin usage is “near the highest it’s ever been at 3.87 transactions per second (TPS)”, Greenspan wrote.

Moreover, the experienced market analyst said that BTC usage rates had been “rising steadily throughout the bear market” as bitcoin adoption continued to increase even when crypto prices were down considerably from their record level highs.

"Emerging Markets" Experienced Greatest Increase In Bitcoin Usage

As many other researchers have observed, Greenspan tweeted:

Bitcoin usage is especially high in emerging markets where the local economy is less stable.

Indeed, countries experiencing hyperinflation such as Venezuela have seen bitcoin trading volumes explode to all-time highs. Venezuelans seem to increasingly be turning to cryptoassets, in order to preserve their wealth as the Bolivar (the nation’s fiat currency) has become practically worthless due to extreme inflation.

Notably, volumes on the popular peer-to-peer (P2P) LocalBitcoins exchange were 157x greater (on February 11th, 2019) than Venezuela’s largest stock exchange. Today (February 21st, 2019), Greenspan pointed out that global trading volumes on LocalBitcoins “have been rising lately” when compared to the “noticeable dip” during the prolonged bear market (which is still not over).

Most Millennials More Confident In Crypto Than Traditional Stocks

On February 19th, eToro published the results of its survey which shows that most millennials appear to be more confident in cryptocurrencies, instead of buying traditional stocks. Interestingly, most or 71% of the young investors responding to the survey said they “would invest in crypto if it was offered by traditional financial institutions.”

Over 90% of millennial crypto traders that participated in eToro’s survey said “they would invest more money in [digital assets] if [they] were offered by traditional financial institutions such as TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, or Charles Schwab.”

Could President Trump Ban Bitcoin? Experts Weigh In

  • Experts weigh in on the possibility of President Trump banning bitcoin.
  • Increasing concern over libra and large platform digital currencies is driving political agenda. 

Following last week’s attack on bitcoin and Facebook’s libra, experts have voiced their opinion on whether US President Donald Trump could realistically impose a ban on cryptocurrency. 

Not a Fan of Bitcoin

On July 11, President Donald Trump published a series of tweets attacking bitcoin and digital currencies, while championing the dollar. 

President Trump’s comments come in the midst of growing concern over Facebook’s libra, as political regulators around the world scramble to enact policies to deal with the rise of digital currencies. 

Members of the crypto community have questioned the impact of the US President taking an unfavorable stance towards bitcoin. Some crypto pundits predicted the tweets would be good for the price of BTC and ultimately increase exposure to cryptoassets. However, others worry that political influence may lead to a crackdown on cryptocurrency usage. 

Scenarios for Banning Crypto

Alex Kruger, economist and market analyst, published a tweet thread examining the legality and possibility of President Trump banning bitcoin. 

According to Kruger, It would be almost impossible for the US government to outlaw bitcoin as a technological instrument. Aside from the Herculean task of eradicating a decentralized, digital technology, bitcoin is code, which is protected under the first amendment.

However, that same protection is not extended to third-party operators, including cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Kruger quoted Abra CEO and Founder BIll Barhydt, who explained in a Forbes article how the government could target fiat onramps to exchanges, 

“You can’t prevent people from holding ones and zeroes on a device in their pocket. That ship has sailed. We already know that. The question is: What can they do at the edge of the network -- the onramps and offramps, the places where they exert control over the banking system, the exchanges, [and the] stablecoins.”

The US government could prevent retail investors from having access to crypto-assets through exchanges and prevent banks from allowing transfer of funds. Users would still be able to buy crypto through alternative channels, but the current ease of investing would be severely hampered. 

Unlikely, But Not Impossible

President Trump could also issue an executive order banning citizens from dealing in bitcoin, similar to the one he issued against the Petro. While there is a precedent for this route, Kruger claims the order could be easily overturned by Congress, 

Ultimately, Kruger believes that it is unlikley the President or Congress would move to ban bitcoin, and it would be difficult to enact fool-proof policy. However, it's worth considering the political landscape as regulatory concerns mount over Facebook's libra.

Just last week, a copy of a bill reportedly drafted by the House Financial Services Committee surfaced online, under the title "Keep Big Tech Out of Finance." The bill would put an end to Facebook and other large platforms from issuing digital currencies without incurring a severe penalty.

The same could be extended to bitcoin in the event the government finds crypto-assets no longer tolerable for the general public.