According to statistics produced by Google and published in the Daily Telegraph Russians are the people who are searching for “Bitcoin” the most. Much of the speculation as to why stems from the recent collapse of the Cypriot banks which apparently could see Russian depositors loose upto €19bn. Unlike official currencies Bitcoins sit on your computer and you do not need a place to deposit them such as a bank. Such a currency is of course of interest to those who wish to not be traced but increasingly Bitcoins are being used for online shopping and are becoming a more acceptable currency. For example at the end of last year Bitcoin in Europe started registering with European authorities.
For those not familiar with Bitcoin it is a virtual currency which is generated on your computer using a complex algorithm. However, unlike currencies such as the Euro there is a fixed number that can be created (21m apparently). The process is relatively complex, takes time and requires significant computing power and electricity. However, it is not all perfect, a recent hack took many services and exchanges offline leading to a small drop in the value of the currency although it has since recovered.
The first time I checked you could buy a bit coin for a few dollars, now they are trading at around $138 each. I only wish I had bought some coins. There are some concerns growing that the current price is just a bubble which could soon go pop. However, with many European banks in trouble Bitcoin could be one of the safer options for the more risk tolerant investor.
More information on Bitcoin can be found here.