Crypto markets plunge following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Synopsis

The most valuable crypto assets have dropped between 10% and 18% since Wednesday as the geopolitical conflict escalated, sending tremors across global markets.

Mumbai: The global cryptocurrency market plunged 11% on Thursday, as Russia sent troops to Ukraine in what it termed as a “special military operation” but widely condemned by Western powers as an outright invasion.

The most valuable crypto assets have dropped between 10% and 18% since Wednesday as the geopolitical conflict escalated, sending tremors across global markets.

Bitcoin fell to its lowest level since January 24 below $35,000 before inching slightly over that mark, according to market tracker Coingecko.com.
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Altcoins, like Ethereum’s token, fell by almost 14% since Wednesday evening. Solana, Cardano, Terra all dived 10-12%.

On Indian crypto exchanges, trading volumes were up 50-100% between Wednesday and Thursday, according to Coinmarketcap.com. Indian retail investors showed mixed behaviour, with seasoned investors “buying the dip” and smaller portfolio ones cashing out their crypto holding, exchange executives told ET.

The buy/sell ratio largely remained unchanged on most exchanges.

“The impact of the war has been felt on the crypto markets too, as expected with any investment asset. Since the US and global markets lead the trends and movements, the Indian market is following the global crypto market. However, we do see increased activity from users and higher volumes, ” said Minal Thukral, senior vice president of growth and strategy, CoinDCX. “While there has been some panic selling specifically by retail users holding small portfolios, volume-wise buy/sell ratio has not changed much.”

On crypto exchange Unocoin, trading volume was up 40% compared to Wednesday.

“Both buy and sell are happening higher than normal as far as volumes are concerned. However, if we see the number of sellers and buyers, we are seeing fewer sellers who are selling in bulk,” said Sathvik Vishwanath, cofounder of Unocoin.

According to multiple industry stakeholders, purchases of stable coins pegged to a fiat currency, or an asset, have been higher because these are less volatile under adverse conditions.

“The price volatility appears to be creating a lot of movements in the crypto markets in India leading to increased trading volumes across almost all the Indian crypto exchanges. USDT and BTC have dominated over 50% of today’s trading volume in the domestic market and their trading volume has grown by 30% from Wednesday,” said Nischal Shetty, cofounder of WazirX.

Traded volumes in stable coins have been higher, said Edul Patel, cofounder and CEO, Mudrex. “Profitable investors booked profits and took those in stable coins. Moreover, people looking to buy cryptos in such a bargain would keep their stable coin bags filled up,” he added.

Crypto markets have had a tumultuous start to the year with the US Federal Reserve indicating a possible hike in interest rates and prices of crypto could further slide in the coming week. “For bitcoin, prices may hit $30,000 levels before going up, because the US is expected to come up with regulations for crypto, which could dip the prices even futher if they unfavourable,” said Sidharth Sogani, founder of Crebaco, a cryptocurrency research firm.

Globally, crypto saw $242 million in liquidations soon after the Russian move into Ukraine, according to CoinDesk.com.

Liquidations in the crypto market happen when a trader has insufficient funds to fund a margin call.
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Updated: 02/26/2022 — 19:00