• Russians reportedly exchanged their rubles for crypto during a short-lived revolt against the government of Russia led by the Wagner Group.
• Trading volume for ruble-denominated Tether increased by 300%, while Bitcoin trading volume remained unchanged.
• Major exchanges supporting Russian currencies include Binance, Cryptonex, HitBTC and Coinsbit.
Demand for One Crypto Asset Tripled in Russia During Short-Lived Wagner Revolt
During the uprising of the Wagner Group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russians exchanged their rubles for crypto assets instead of Bitcoin (BTC). According to blockchain data firm CCData, trading volume for ruble-denominated Tether (USDT) rose by 300%. This increase was not observed with Bitcoin as market participants opted to hold less volatile assets instead.
Platforms Supporting Russian Currencies
Major exchanges that still support the Russian currency include Binance, Cryptonex, HitBTC and Coinsbit. These platforms offer a variety of services including trading pairs in rubles which have been delisted from other exchanges due to financial sanctions imposed against Russia.
CCData Communications Manager on Uptick in Trading Volume
CCData communications manager Jamie Sly commented on this surge in USDT trades saying that it is likely due to people wanting to hold less volatile assets during uncertain times like these when there is a revolt taking place.
Demand For Other Crypto Assets
Despite all the attention on Tether (USDT), demand for other crypto assets also increased during this period according to CCData’s report. Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) were some of the most popular choices among traders during this time period as they sought out safer alternatives than Bitcoin given its volatility.
Sanctions Against Russia
As mentioned before, many exchanges have delisted trading pairs in rubles because of financial sanctions imposed against Russia as a result of its illegal invasion of Ukraine. As a result, traders had no choice but to use platforms that still offer services with rubles despite these restrictions or face losses if they were unable to exchange their coins back into fiat currency quickly enough when needed.