It turns out that bitcoin prices performed extremely well yesterday… in Russia.
While BTC/USD slumped by four percent and hit a six-week low, BTC/RUB excelled. It soared by as much as 10% to 21,650 on BTC-e, a four-month high. Today, it continues to hover near that high, trading at 21,100.
Volume skyrocketed to 800 BTC traded during a 24 hour period on BTC-e. While this is but a fraction of typical BTC/USD volumes, it was BTC/RUB’s highest in nearly a year.
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This all stemmed from yesterday’s carnage in the ruble and Russia’s rapidly deteriorating economic outlook, which saw USD/RUB spike close to 80. The crash resulted in several FX brokers halting trade in the pair or modifying spreads and/or margin requirements.
In essence, it was the ruble’s turn on Tuesday to trade like a cryptocurrency. Surveying a dashboard of traded forex pairs, most showed a 24 hour change ranging from 0.1-1.5%. Then there was USD/RUB, showing 16% – a figure we’re more used to seeing when scrolling through a list of digital currencies.
BTC thus had its turn to function as a safe haven, though the most passionate Bitcoiners would make this case even for apparently more stable currencies like the dollar.
Ironically enough, Russia is one of the few places on earth where Bitcoin would be illegal. A draft bill seeks to prohibit its mining, distribution and any other related dealings, proposing a schedule of penalties for violations.