Cryptocurrencies surge over demand from Russians and Ukrainians


Cryptocurrencies defied a stock market slump on Monday to rise amid what analysts said was increased demand from Russian and Ukrainian buyers. 

Bitcoin was up more than 13% at $43,500.16 as of 3:03 a.m. ET after hitting a high in the past 24 hours of $44,165.90, according to CoinDesk data, while ethereum was up 7.3% at $2,800.

The surge can be explained in part by Russians flocking to escape the ruble, which has tanked due to crippling sanctions from the US and European Union, according to Marc van der Chijs of First Block Capital

Last week bitcoin fell to its lowest level in a month after Russian forces fired missiles at numerous Ukrainian cities and landed troops on the country’s coast, spurring a sell-off of riskier assets.

Bitcoin dropped as much as 7.9% to $34,324, its lowest level since January 24. Smaller coins that usually move with bitcoin plummeted as well, with ether shedding as much as 10.8% of its value.

Russia launched an all-out land, air, and sea invasion of Ukraine, the worst attack by one country against another in Europe since World War II and validation of the West’s primary concerns.

Read more: Cryptocurrencies Crash After Hitting All-Time Highs

Following the strikes, the US and its partners will slap “serious sanctions” on Russia, according to US President Joe Biden. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs leader, has announced the bloc’s strongest financial measures to yet.

As investors hurried for perceived safe-haven assets, global stocks and US government rates plummeted, while the currency, gold, and oil prices soared. European stocks fell by 2.6 percent on their own.

While proponents of bitcoin claim it works as a safe haven from geopolitical concerns, it frequently moves in lockstep with other risky assets. Its drop on Thursday pushed its losses since hitting a high of $69,000 in November over 50%.

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