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Crypto trading in ruble drops even as ECB warns on sanctions

written by Bella Palmer

Ruble to USDT volume is down 86% from its peak of $38 million on March 7 to less than $5 million on March 22, data provided by crypto analysis firm Kaiko showed

The President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde has reiterated warnings that Russian individuals and businesses are using cryptocurrencies to skirt sanctions.

However, as of March 18, daily ruble-denominated crypto trading volume was sitting at just $7.4 million, down over 50% from recent figures and a peak of $70 million on March 7, according to data from Chainalysis.

This amount represents a tiny slither of the total global crypto market volume, with Bitcoin’s total daily volume generally fluctuating between $20 billion and $40 billion.

In a presentation at the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Summit on Tuesday, the crypto sceptic Lagarde said that European financial authorities had seen the ‘volumes of rubles into stable, into cryptos, at the moment is at the highest level that we have seen since maybe 2021.

Lagarde did not point the finger at the Russian government and outlined that it was primarily Russian individuals and businesses turning to cryptocurrencies. However she said that cryptocurrencies ‘are certainly being used as a way to try to circumvent the sanctions.’

Lagarde’s comments seem to be at odds with data provided by Chainalysis and Kaiko, as well as that of expert opinion. The Blockchain Association’s Jake Chervinsky has said that Russia is unlikely to utilize crypto assets as a method of circumventing Western sanctions.

Data provided by crypto analysis firm Kaiko, showed that ruble to USDT volume is down 86% from its peak of $38 million on March 7 to less than $5 million on March 22. There was a surge in the lead up to the war and spikes afterward, but volumes are now back to levels below that seen throughout most of early February. That's before sanctions were imposed.


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