Two countries that have recently faced massive currency devaluation, of a magnitude that would have significantly impacted the standard of living of their populations, are Belarus and Ukraine.
Over a period of three months in late 2008, in the wake of the global financial crisis, Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, was devalued by 38.4%. This wasn't the first time Ukraine had seen its currency crumble, with an even more significant devaluation happening in 1998, on the order of 69%.
More recently, on May 23rd of this year, the Belarus ruble was devalued by 56% in an effort by the country to address its overwhelming sovereign debt.
Is it any wonder then, when we look at the list of the top 15 Bitcoin-using countries, and divide the number of connected clients over the last 24 hours by the number of Internet users in each country, we get this?
It is very clear from this chart that a disproportionate number of Internet users in Belarus and Ukraine, when compared to other countries, are turning to Bitcoin as an alternative investment to protect themselves from their own currencies.
I believe this chart would remain true using data taken over a prolonged period of time, as relative Bitcoin usage in the top 15 countries has been consistent over the past six weeks.
If there is any proof that Bitcoin is being considered as a viable alternative to fiat currencies, this is it. As the European Union continues to collapse economically, it will be interesting to see how many more people begin to turn to Bitcoin to preserve their wealth.