The coronavirus lockdown has caused many people to see bitcoin in a different way, including residents of Russia.

Russia Seems to Love BTC

The country has had a very mixed relationship with cryptocurrency. Assets are often traded in secret as government officials have not taken to digital assets the way other nations have. The country has also long considered a ban on digital currency trading, believing it leads to criminal activity such as money laundering.

Now that everyone is stuck at home and unable to go out due to the growing pandemic, it looks like bitcoin trading in Russia has gotten higher than ever, though this appears to be the case all over the world, especially the United States. The $2.2 trillion stimulus package that was released in late March ultimately led to many people worrying about the status of the U.S. dollar.

The idea that money could simply be printed out of thin air like that was scary to many people, and many sought to add more speculative assets – such as bitcoin and gold – to their portfolios as a means of hedging their wealth against economic strife.

Several crypto exchanges that do busines in Russia – including Binance Russia, Garantex and EXMO – have emerged to say that they’ve witnessed heavy increases in platform trading. On average, trading has grown by a whopping 15 to 20 percent on these exchanges.

In addition, bitcoin futures have grown in popularity alongside the digital currency. For example, Binance Russia says that the number of bitcoin futures contracts traded on its platform in April and May were more than double the numbers reported in the previous month. They were also five times what was reported in January.

Sergey Mendelev – the founder of Garantex – says he believes the increase in trading is coming from business owners who are receiving crypto payments for their work. He’s also confident that many of the customers are quite rich and have a lot of money to play around with. Thus, the idea of losing a little here and there on more speculative assets is a chance they can take.

He explains:

In my opinion, the increase in the number of users is associated with interest from entrepreneurs and those who have sufficient funds for risky investments.

Interestingly, however, evidence suggests that the growing increase in bitcoin and crypto trading largely has to do with the coronavirus pandemic. A report issued by RBC-Crypto says that Russia has been easing its COVID-lockdown regulations this month, and that already crypto trading has experienced a small dip.

Is This Already Ending?

EXMO Exchange director Maria Stankevich explains:

With the partial relaxation, those who were reading about crypto during the lockdown may have already switched to other types of activity, including walking.

In the fall, Russia is expected to adopt a new bill that will limit crypto trading within its borders.

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