Market Wrap: Bitcoin Stabilizes Amid Geopolitical Uncertainty

The leading cryptocurrency reverses earlier losses in seesaw trading.

AccessTimeIconFeb 24, 2022 at 9:26 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:57 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies experienced sharp price swings over the past 24 hours amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Thursday, U.S. President Biden imposed additional sanctions on Russia for the attack. Russian airstrikes triggered declines across speculative assets worldwide, including cryptocurrencies.

The market capitalization across all cryptos slid toward $1.5 trillion, losing almost 9%. Bitcoin fell as much as 7%, although the crypto pared earlier losses and had returned above $38,000 at press time. Most alternative cryptocurrencies underperformed bitcoin over the past 24 hours.

"Option volumes point to the likelihood that many investors are maintaining long positions while hedging risk with derivatives," Sean Farrell, head of digital asset strategy at FundStrat, wrote in a email on Thursday.

"Consistent with last week, we think it is wise to maintain long positions with time horizons beyond six months and be prepared to buy on dips," Farrell wrote.

Latest prices

Bitcoin (BTC): $38456, +1.84%

Ether (ETH): $2645, +0.75%

S&P 500 daily close: $4289, +1.50%

Gold: $1898 per troy ounce, −0.61%

Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 1.97%

Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at

Signs of capitulation

Bitcoin's trading volume across major spot exchanges reached its highest level in a month, according to CoinDesk data. Typically, high volume corrections could signal capitulation among sellers.

And from a technical perspective, there are initial signs on the charts of downside exhaustion, which typically precede short-term upswings in price.

Katie Stockton, managing partner at Fairlead Strategies, a technical research firm, also noticed a short-term counter trend signal for BTC. "Hopefully this allows bitcoin to avoid a confirmed breakdown," Katie wrote in an email to CoinDesk.

A break below $37,361 would be bearish, although Stockton's work shows the current dip in BTC could exhaust itself today and give way to two weeks of stabilization.

Flight to safety

Risk-off has been the dominant theme so far this year, even before the events in Russia and Ukraine escalated into a full-scale war.

The chart below shows that long-term U.S. Treasurys have moved in lockstep with stocks, offering little protection for investors. Meanwhile, bitcoin have largely underperformed traditional assets year to date. And gold has maintained its status as a safe haven asset.

Still, returns across assets have narrowed, with bitcoin still in the lead over the past year.

Bitcoin and macro asset returns this year (CoinDesk)
Bitcoin and macro asset returns this year (CoinDesk)

Altcoin roundup

  • Tether's USDT stablecoin well over $1 on Ukrainian crypto exchange: Ukrainians were paying a steep premium over the U.S. dollar for Tether's USDT stablecoin after Russia invaded the Eastern European country. The price of USDT on the popular Ukrainian cryptocurrency exchange Kuna jumped Thursday by almost 5% in the past 24 hours to 32 Ukrainian hryvnia, the country’s national currency. The price works out to $1.10 per USDT, which is supposed to be worth $1, according to CoinDesk’s Helene Braun. Read more here.
  • OneOf expands sports NFT presence with new collection on Polygon: The digital sports collectible market is growing faster than ever, and non-fungible token (NFT) platform OneOf is planning to get in on the action. On Thursday, the company announced the launch of its “Sports Pass” collection, a series of NFTs designed by animation studio 8th Frame that grant holders exclusive perks on OneOf’s new sports-themed NFT marketplace, according to CoinDesk reporter Eli Tan. Read more here.
  • Smart contract tokens’ gain wiped out: Cosmos’ ATOM fell 9.2% today after leading the smart contract tokens’ gains with a 7.2% rise yesterday. Major gainers yesterday like Avalanche’s AVAX fell as much as 7.6% today. Price plunges were more severe in the earlier hours in reaction to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Partial recovery were seen later, but overall sentiment is still bearish.

Relevant news

Other markets

Digital assets in the CoinDesk 20 ended the day slightly lower.

Largest gainers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Bitcoin Cash BCH +3.5% Currency
Solana SOL +2.2% Smart Contract Platform
Bitcoin BTC +1.5% Currency

Largest losers:

Asset Ticker Returns Sector
Cosmos ATOM −6.5% Smart Contract Platform
Internet Computer ICP −6.4% Computing
Cardano ADA −5.6% Smart Contract Platform

Sector classifications are provided via the Digital Asset Classification Standard (DACS), developed by CoinDesk Indices to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and standardized classification system for digital assets. The CoinDesk 20 is a ranking of the largest digital assets by volume on trusted exchanges.


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Damanick Dantes

Damanick was a crypto market analyst at CoinDesk where he wrote the daily Market Wrap and provided technical analysis. He is a Chartered Market Technician designation holder and member of the CMT Association. Damanick is also a portfolio strategist and does not invest in digital assets.

Angelique Chen

Angelique is a market contributor at CoinDesk.