Interestingly enough, several Bitcoin-related apps started spiking on the Spanish iPhone market over the weekend. Bitcoin Gold shot up in the Spanish iPhone Finance category from 498 to 72, and another app called Bitcoin Ticker zoomed from 526 to 52 in just one day. A leading service called Bitcoin App jumped from 194 to 151 between Friday and Sunday as Spaniards brooded over the Cyprus crisis.
Some vague rumors about possible savings account confiscations have been swirling around Europe over the past couple of months, but they had been shrugged off as American-style crazy conspiracy theories. Now, Europe is facing the reality of governments suddenly swooping in to take a bite out of even small savings accounts. Oddly enough, an EU official named Dijsselbloem rushed to point out on Saturday evening that further savings account levies cannot be ruled out.
It will be extremely interesting to see if we’ll witness a Bitcoin app craze in Spain over coming weeks.
The past decade has been rocky for virtual currencies. Despite the eternal optimism of Bitcoin fans, actual mass market acceptance seems to always loom “a couple of years in the future.” Every now and then, virtual currency market glitches make headlines, scaring off a chunk of potential customers. However, the fascinating weekend had by a tiny island nation in Eastern Mediterranean just might change the dynamics — at least in Southern Europe.
The most gruesome part of the Cyprus stunner was that even small accounts may have part of their money confiscated by the government. Everyone knows that small accounts are 100% insured against bankruptcies. Now consumers are learning that no such protections exist against government levies. Newspaper reports about how Germany had originally demanded a 40% overnight levy are not soothing the jitters in Club Med countries. Suddenly Bitcoin looks a bit less risky, at least to Spanish and Italian eyes.
What about the Cyprus app market? Bitcoin apps aren’t doing much over there — perhaps because bank accounts were frozen on Saturday and it’s too late to shift money from them.
Poignantly, the biggest top-10 free app climber on the iPhone during the crisis weekend was a game called Find a Way, Jose! It’s a puzzle where you need to free Jose from a seemingly impossible bind by shrewdly moving obstacles around; a goal that the government of Cyprus failed to achieve quite spectacularly.