Bitcoin prices in dollars rose more than 9% on Monday as the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia’s central bank appear to have driven a spike in Russian interest in cryptocurrency.
Western sanctions making it harder for the Russian central bank to transact with other financial institutions have severely cut the ruble’s value, the New York Times reports. That’s likely sent Russians with the means to do so looking for more stable ways to store their funds, and potentially ways to transfer them out of the country, including via cryptocurrency.
Other currency value shocks, like the Greek financial crisis in the mid-2010s, had also spiked interest in cryptocurrency. But the digital coins aren’t a perfect solution: Sanctions and other financial restrictions can make it difficult to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through mainstream exchanges that allow transactions in other currencies like dollars and euros, and crypto often isn’t accepted for the everyday purchases most affected by inflation when a currency is devalued.