Bitcoin, the world’s most popular Cryptocurrency, surged above $17,000 to a three-year high on Tuesday as an increasing number of investors backed it as an alternative to other physical assets.
The currency climbed more than 4% to $17,492, its highest level since December 2017 and is now more than four times higher than the price in March of this year when substantial selling sent its value below $4,000.
Analysts confidently stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had urged investors to review the long-term outlook for bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin and XRP, which have all grown in value in recent months.
This is all coming at a time when Greek authorities from the Capital Market Commission expressed concern that bitcoin cash machines are quickly spreading all across Greece. The commission and not the Central Bank of Greece is in charge of monitoring the cyber currency because digital Cryptocurrencies are seen in Greece as portfolio assets and not a 'concrete currency', according to a report on Ekathimerini.
As bitcoin ATMs continue to emerge throughout the country, authorities are concerned that there is very little surveillance or regulation concerning the many thousands of bitcoin transactions that occur, with some people even using their Cryptocurrency ‘money’ to purchase boats and cars.
Such terminals are springing up at bookstores, corner shops, minimarkets and small specialized grocers in Athens and other popular Greek cities, with concerns growing over how this unknown and new 'money market' is being used by people.
Capital Market Commission Vice President Natasa Stamou explained to eKathimerini that:
“The anonymity, the speed of transactions, the easier concealment of the origin and destination of money, and the capacity for transfer and storage outside the regulated credit system render Cryptocurrencies 'ideal for conducting illegal activities', which cannot be detected and tackled in a timely and efficient manner."
Stamou noted that 'Cryptocurrencies are accepted in Greece as a means of payment at over 100 enterprises'.
The Financial Action Task Force also weighed in on these concerns regarding bitcoin ATMs in Greece, which include trafficking and sale of drugs and other forbidden substances and items, such as weapons; fraud; blackmail; tax evasion; cyberattacks; human trafficking and unlicensed financial services.
However, it is nearly impossible to prove if any of these activities are occurring as Bitcoin transfers are untraceable.
Bitcoin became popular in Greece back in 2015 when Greeks frantically turned to online trading platforms in search of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies during the despondencies of the debt crisis, when banks began shutting down and capital controls were put in place to control people's cash.
More recently, in late 2019, the Greek government announced that it would ‘require digital tax receipts from all of its citizens’, in an effort to combat otherwise untraceable cash transactions. As a result, Greeks got creative about their money and began a new interest in Cryptocurrency.
In conclusion, it seems that the interest in Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin is not going anywhere, it remains to be seen how high Bitcoin will get and if it will be considered a 'legitimate currency' in the future.
Read more about Bitcoin and its potential impact on Greece here.