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Russian Crypto Trading Volume Down From Recent Peak

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Ruble-denominated cryptocurrency transactions appear to be in decline.
  • Crypto trading volume in rubles appears to have dropped by more than half, according to data from Chainalysis.
  • Ruble-denominated Tether stablecoin transactions are also down from a peak of $38 million.
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Russian ruble-denominated cryptocurrency transactions appear to be in decline, dropping from a peak weeks earlier.

Crypto trading volume in rubles appears to have dropped by more than half on March 18, from a recent peak of roughly $70 million on March 7, according to data from Chainalysis.

The blockchain-analytics firm estimates ruble trading volume at around $7.4 million, a mere fraction of Bitcoin’s daily total volume average of $20-$40 billion.

However, the data is not comprehensive and does not include all transactions conducted on blockchains, according to Chainalysis’ senior director of communications Madeleine Kennedy.

She explained that the data only reveals potential crypto activities being performed by Russian investors on crypto exchanges.

Russian ruble Tether pairs also down

Additionally, ruble-denominated Tether stablecoin transactions, which constitute the most popular ruble trading pair, are also down from a March 7 peak of roughly $38 million, according to data from Kaiko.

The crypto data firm reported less than $5 million worth of RUB/USDT volume on March 22. It also highlighted that only three global crypto exchanges offer ruble-denominated crypto trading pairs, Yobit, LocalBitcoins and Binance. 

Considering this leverage, it would seem likely that Binance has complied with many who have called for crypto exchanges to ban Russian users in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet the exchange refused to issue a blanket ban against Russians, with CEO Changpeng Zhao calling it “unethical.” 

This effectively neutral stance, however, has led Ukrainian cryptocurrency exchange founder Michael Chobanian to accuse Binance of continuing to cooperate with the Russian government.

“The problem with Binance is not only that they are still operating on both sides, but that they showed cooperation with the Russian government even before the war,” Chobanian said. “As far as I know, they are still cooperating with the Russian government.”

Chobanian has provided no evidence that Binance is cooperating with the Russian government. Nevertheless, the Russian market has long been important to the exchange.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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