Since Sunday, a trio of Bitcoin apps have soared up Spain's download charts, coinciding with news that cash-strapped Cyprus was planning to raid domestic savings accounts to pay off a $13 billion bailout tab. Fearing contagion on the other end of the Mediterranean, some Spaniards are apparently looking for cover in an experimental digital currency.
"This is an entirely predictable and rational outcome for what's happening in Cyprus," says Nick Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. "If you want to get a good sense of the stress European savers are feeling, just watch Bitcoin prices."
The value of the virtual currency has soared nearly 15 percent in the last two days, according to the most-recent pricing data. "One hundred percent of that is due to Cyprus," says Colas. "It means the Europeans are getting involved."