Are Heavy Russian Sanctions a Potential Bull Case Scenario for Bitcoin?

Analyst Don Kaufman says crypto is a way for Russia to navigate global penalties

AccessTimeIconFeb 17, 2022 at 7:23 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:08 p.m. UTC

Rising tensions over Ukraine don't preclude a big move higher for bitcoin (BTC), TheoTrade analyst Don Kaufman told CoinDesk TV.

“If sanctions hit Russia and hit Russia heavily, there is no question that they’re going to go into every stablecoin. They’re going to go into bitcoin," said Kaufman, appearing on CoinDesk's "First Mover" show on Thursday. "This is how they’re going to circumnavigate it.”

The back and forth over Ukraine continued today, with President Joe Biden saying a Russian invasion was imminent and Russia expelling Bart Gorman, the U.S. deputy chief of mission to that country. Meanwhile, Russia Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said troops have been redeployed away from Ukraine. The news has helped send the S&P 500 stock index down 1.5% and the Nasdaq lower by 2%. Bitcoin's price has crumbled nearly 7% to $41,175.

Kaufman, nevertheless, said the bull case for bitcoin is supported by the rise and prominence of decentralized finance (DeFi), which could essentially stifle sanctions altogether. Whether Russia goes that route is another question because there have been mixed signals of late. Those include the Bank of Russia arguing for a crypto ban in favor of its own central bank digital currency, while President Vladimir Putin's Ministry of Finance appears to be at least flirting with the idea of welcoming, regulating and taxing digital assets.

Quantum Economics analyst Jason Deane agrees that bitcoin remains a viable and valuable avenue in Russia to hedge some of Biden’s threats, but sees any big moves as part of a longer-term scenario. “The theory is that uncertainty in traditional markets – all linked to a fiat system already under pressure – would drive capital tobBitcoin and make Russia look for alternatives,” he told CoinDesk. “It’s a hard call whether the asset is mature enough for that to happen.”


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Brian Evans

Brian covers bitcoin on the markets team