A couple of years ago, the media exploded with reports of Greek interest in bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that most people didn't know about until recently.
The digital currency's transactions are stored in blockchain, a distributed ledger technology.
At the time, analysts were looking at big increases in the use of bitcoin in European marketplaces. CNN Tech reported in June 2015 that bitcoin trades from Greece increased 79 percent on certain trading platforms.
Since then, public reports about Greece and its bitcoin aspirations have been few and far between. However, a blog post on Coin Currency News in February showed countries like Greece and Italy may be driving bitcoin prices up.
The blog post cites financial reporting about Greek debt and its need for “further debt relief” that could drive value for bitcoin, as well as gold.
Austerity, some analysts argue, will drive investors toward alternatives like bitcoin in the future.
“With coming challenges to the banking sector in Greece and Italy, some analysts are suggesting that they will turn to Bitcoin related investments as a source for alternative banking options for consumers and business who have lost trust in the traditional sectors in Greece and Italy, where people are absolutely outraged at the corruption and manipulation of the system that has caused many people to go bankrupt and lost trust in the traditional system.”
However, while bitcoin may be attractive in times of currency crunches and looming potential for debt defaults, it can also be part of an important transition to better accounting and money management.
“There are many discussions on how blockchain technology could be used to limit or even eliminate corruption and graft,” Mark Mueller-Eberstein, CEO & Founder - Adgetec Corp., told Balkan Business Wire.
Mueller-Eberstein cited experimentation with new financial technology by Maersk, which represents one of the largest shipping and logistics companies in the world.
“With bitcoin, all transactions are fully transparent and monetary flow can be audited,” Mueller-Eberstein said.
Remarking on the “One Belt, One Road” project that the Chinese are saying will redefine trade on a global scale, Mueller-Eberstein said it's important to choose the tools for these kinds of programs carefully.
"Different blockchains and cryptocurrencies have different properties, so picking and designing according to the intended purpose is important,” Mueller-Eberstein said.
The Chinese "One Belt, One Road" project is a development strategy for connecting mainland China with Eurasian trading partners. It is thought that bitcoin and blockchain will play a role in this plan.