The dramatic fall of the Russian ruble has resulted in a marked increase in ruble/Bitcoin trades across the market.
Russian activity in Bitcoin, which is subject to an unfavorable yet shaky legal status in the country, spiked Tuesday in the aftermath of the ruble’s biggest retreat in 16 years.
As CNBC reports, trading ruble for Bitcoin increased almost fourfold on the day, the highest level since December 2013, making Bitcoin one the few currencies to actively benefit from the ruble’s sudden decline.
Bobby Lee of BTC China told the publication, echoing popular community opinion on the phenomenon:
“The high trading volumes with the ruble is to be expected, given the flight away from this struggling currency. Bitcoin is therefore a natural destination, as well as other strong central bank currencies.”
According to Bitcoincharts.com, both Tuesday and Wednesday witnessed over 800 trades on the Btc-e exchange, traditionally the most popular option for Russian users. Analysts however stopped short of proclaiming a shift in consumer habits, citing the uncertain Russian legal environment as still presenting an obstacle.
“I'd be surprised if Russians were turning to Bitcoin in any meaningful way given the uncertainty over whether they could use it or store it without penalties in the future,” Bitnet’s solutions strategy vice president Akif Khan commented.
Meanwhile, the Bitcoin price has also modestly decreased over the course of the week, but the mood is confident that Russian activity has done little to influence any shift.
“Although the Ruble is certainly troubled, the evidence we have seen suggests that Russian demand is not having a significant impact on the Bitcoin price, which fell today,” Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO of New York-based Coinsetter told CoinTelegraph via email. “The Russian demand for Bitcoin could change as their monetary problems exacerbate.”
The immediate outlook for the ruble is uncertain while the central bank buys billions of dollars’ worth of rubles in an effort to shore up the currency. Tax period payments are due at the end of the month, while a reversal in the fall of oil would also benefit performance, which has broadly tracked oil in the preceding months.
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