Despite local cryptocurrency uncertainty, Russia is strengthening its leadership on major peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins in the share of Bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes.
Russia has traded the most Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins exchange for two consecutive months, April and May 2020, according to an analysis by crypto media startup CryptoDiffer.
Russia trades nearly twice as much BTC on LocalBitcoins as Venezuela and the U.S.
According to the data, Russia was responsible for 19% of total BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins this May, leaving Venezuela and the United States trailing. LocalBitcoins’ BTC trading in Venezuela and the U.S. reportedly accounted for 11% and 10%, respectively. Total Bitcoin trading volumes on LocalBitcoins in May 2020 amounted to 17,867 bitcoins, the firm found.
The information provided by CryptoDiffer apparently coincides with data from major Bitcoin statistics website, Coin Dance. According to Coin Dance’s website, Russia’s weekly BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins accounted for about 800 BTC in May 2020. Meanwhile, Venezuela and the U.S. were trading around 400 BTC per week during the same month.
LocalBitcoins expands its push into Russian market
A spokesperson for LocalBitcoins confirmed to Cointelegraph that Russia has been one of the leading markets on the platform. Citing an internal LocalBitcoins’ report, the representative said that Russia was responsible for 17,9% of the total trade volume on the exchange in May 2020. According to the representative, Russia was also the biggest market in April and the top trading country in the first quarter of 2020 for LocalBitcoins.
Finland-based LocalBitcoins has been providing Bitcoin trading services against the Russian ruble since 2013, the person said. After hitting all-time highs in weekly BTC trading in 2017, Russian market has remained an important market to date, the LocalBitcoins’ representative noted.
Russia’s Bitcoin trading leadership on LocalBitcoins comes amid the firm’s apparent push into the Russian market. In mid-April 2020, LocalBitcoins introduced a dedicated Russian-language blog, debuting with an article featuring a Russian community manager, Vladislav Alimpiev. LocalBitcoins has been also promoting its service for Russian users, tweeting that the platform is among key crypto exchanges for Russia.
Overall trading volumes on LocalBitcoins has declined in recent years
Russia became the largest trader of Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins amid a general decline of Bitcoin trading activity on the platform. According to data from Coin Dance, weekly Bitcoin trading volumes on the exchange collapsed from around 10,000 BTC in May 2019 to about 4,500 BTC in May 2020.
Bitcoin trading volumes on LocalBitcoins dropped significantly after the platform abruptly terminated some local cash trades in June 2019. The volumes continued to decline as the exchange was tightening Anti-Money Laundering measures and suspending accounts in multiple regions.
Global BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins. Source: Coin Dance
The drop on LocalBitcoins’ global markets comes in line with a significant decline in its Russian market. As such, weekly BTC trading volumes in Russia dropped roughly 60% from about 2,000 BTC in May 2019 to 800 BTC in May 2020, according to data from Coin Dance.
While Russia is apparently the top market for LocalBitcoins so far, the country has seen some issues in terms of crypto regulation. On May 21, Russian lawmakers suggested criminalizing crypto violations with fines up to $28,240 and imprisonment for up to seven years.
Addressing the issue, the LocalBitcoins’ representative said:
“We are following the legal situation in Russia and we hope that Russian people will continue to have access to Bitcoin and its benefits in the future too.”
Update June 3 12:00 UTC: This article was updated to add additional information provided by LocalBitcoins.