The number of people typing "Bitcoin" into Google is rising everywhere as the value of the virtual currency increases - but nowhere are searchers more feverish than in Russia. According to Google trends Russians are performing the most searches for "Bitcoin" - followed by Estonia, and then the US and Finland.
The Telegraph suggests this lends support to the idea that Bitcoin's recent rise was driven by the situation in Cyprus, as government trust plummeted and savers looked for ways to circumvent the banks. Russian businesses were hit particularly hard by the crisis as they accounted for around €19bn of Cypriot deposits.
But Russia was topping Bitcoin Google trends as far back as July 2011, and there might be older reasons for Russian interest. The currency has obvious advantages in BRIC countries - bitcoinmoney.com outlined a few of them in this post 9 months ago:
Bitcoin has a bigger potential to improve the lives for those whose savings are at risk of devaluation through inflation, for those whose payments are made costlier as the result of payment system fees, and most importantly for those whose governments impose restrictions on how their money is used.
Because Bitcoin is not a corporation, nor a bank, nor an agency of any government, nor any formal organization it can thus continue to expand, permeating the BRICs and beyond, organically just as it exists today. This is an expected and natural progression for this currency.
The currency value continues to soar - on Friday, a single Bitcoin traded at around $135.
UPDATE: now over $150, according to Business Insider