Bitcoin has overtaken the Russian Ruble after a crypto market surge coincided with Russia’s currency crashing.
The cryptocurrency reached above $41,000 on Monday afternoon, according to CoinMarketCap’s price index, having traded below $35,000 as recently as Thursday.
The Ruble fell by around 25 per cent in that same time period, dropping below $0.01 on Monday to a new record low.
The fiat currency’s crash came amid increased sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, with the West introducing restrictions for some Russian banks to the SWIFT global bank payments system.
The latest BTC price surge was partly fuelled by people exchanging Rubles to the cryptocurrency, according to some market analysts, who said the cryptocurrency served as a store-of-value during times of geopolitical and economic uncertainty.
“In these uncertain times, we have seen an uptick in the utility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” Paolo Ardoino, CTO of the crypto exchange BitFinex, told The Independent.
“It goes without saying the defining characteristics of bitcoin allows it to act as a safe haven during turbulent times.”
Earlier on Monday, Russian crypto exchange BestChange.ru went offline, leading to speculation that it was either the result of hackers, or due to a flood of users attempting to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with Rubles.
In response to Western sanctions, Russia’s central bank more than doubled interest rates to 20 per cent on Monday.
“External conditions for the Russian economy have changed dramatically,” the Bank of Russia said in a statement.
“An increase in the key rate will make it possible to ensure an increase in deposit rates to the levels necessary to compensate for the increased devaluation and inflation risks. This will help maintain financial and price stability and protect citizens’ savings from depreciation.”
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