- As sanctions intensify and Russia’s stock market shuts down, Bitcoin whales surge 5% in a day.
- The number of Bitcoin whales reached June 2021 highs.
- Western countries continue to slam sanctions against Russia.
Bitcoin whales are growing in number and the figures have not been this high since June 2021. Russia’s conflict with Ukraine plays a big part in the recent uptick.
Are Russia’s Elites Trying To Protect Their Assets?
Recent data from CoinMetrics shows that since NATO and its allies started imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs, the number of Bitcoin whale accounts has spiked. According to CoinMetrics, the number of whale addresses holding more than 1000 BTC stands at 2,226 as of yesterday.
The figure has not been so high since June of last year and represents a 5% jump over a day. The CoinMetrics data also showed that the number of addresses holding over 100 BTC has also grown. However, the growth of the comparatively smaller accounts is modest compared to those holding over 1000 BTC. These have grown just 1.3%, to 15,953 addresses.
Julian Hosp, CEO of Cake DeFi, commented on the recent surge on Twitter. The executive cited two possible reasons: he said it was either the result of activity by crypto exchanges or wealthy individuals with a sudden incentive to invest in the digital asset.
“Wow! About 150 new bitcoin addresses with > 1,000 BTC on them. This either means some rebalancing of exchanges or custodial services (non-event) or a group of people with deep pockets suddenly have strong interests to get into bitcoin (big event!) Which one is it going to be?” read the tweet.
As a result of sanctions imposed by NATO and its allies, Russia’s economy is experiencing one of its worst periods on record. The Russian Ruble dropped nearly 30% last week. Russia’s central bank has moved to increase rates to 20-year highs and shut down the stock market in a bid to contain the situation. Analysts believe that Russia’s wealthiest are behind the surge in whale addresses as they might want to protect their wealth.
NATO Continues Targeted Sanctions
Since Putin started his invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have responded with a barrage of sanctions. The sanctions have led to the removal of Russia from SWIFT while sterner economic sanctions are on the cards.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian revealed that the goal of the sanctions is “asphyxiating Russia’s economy.” while the US has also committed to cutting Russia off from its foreign exchange reserves, totaling about $640 billion. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “We will paralyze the assets of Russia’s central bank. This will freeze its transactions. It will make it impossible for the central bank to liquidate assets.”
However, several pundits have noted that Russia’s use of crypto could take the bite from these sanctions. ECB’s President Christine Lagarde, speaking on the EU’s crypto regulatory legislation, increased the call from countries to regulate cryptocurrencies swiftly to prevent Russia from gaining an advantage from the use.