Bitcoin Demand Booms in Ukraine And Russia
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,587,785 (-9.64%)       Melbourne $968,477 (-1.28%)       Brisbane $894,769 (-1.51%)       Adelaide $810,780 (-6.94%)       Perth $764,276 (-4.92%)       Hobart $750,134 (+1.16%)       Darwin $645,801 (-3.38%)       Canberra $1,017,220 (+3.56%)       National $1,010,264 (-5.75%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725,381 (-1.27%)       Melbourne $488,555 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $499,581 (-5.39%)       Adelaide $411,364 (-4.41%)       Perth $414,273 (-2.57%)       Hobart $498,192 (-6.11%)       Darwin $351,130 (-4.84%)       Canberra $480,942 (-4.46%)       National $506,040 (-3.24%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,047 (+6,578)       Melbourne 14,543 (+5,785)       Brisbane 8,228 (+1,243)       Adelaide 2,741 (+600)       Perth 6,788 (+1,322)       Hobart 1,219 (+48)       Darwin 269 (+17)       Canberra 1,013 (+155)       National 44,848 (+15,748)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,226 (+4,905)       Melbourne 7,846 (+2,295)       Brisbane 1,759 (+304)       Adelaide 499 (+101)       Perth 1,899 (+331)       Hobart 186 (-9)       Darwin 388 (+26)       Canberra 854 (+60)       National 21,657 (+8,013)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $780 ($0)       Melbourne $590 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 (-$10)       Darwin $680 ($0)       Canberra $690 ($0)       National $652 (-$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725 (-$5)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 (-$10)       Adelaide $450 (-$20)       Perth $600 (+$15)       Hobart $470 (-$10)       Darwin $570 ($0)       Canberra $570 ($0)       National $584 (-$3)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,614 (+7)       Melbourne 5,631 (-24)       Brisbane 4,055 (-125)       Adelaide 1,248 (+4)       Perth 1,830 (+7)       Hobart 380 (+12)       Darwin 153 (-19)       Canberra 664 (-12)       National 19,575 (-150)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 7,725 (-368)       Melbourne 5,038 (-276)       Brisbane 2,044 (-65)       Adelaide 394 (+11)       Perth 594 (-34)       Hobart 139 (+1)       Darwin 285 (-5)       Canberra 590 (-16)       National 16,809 (-752)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.55% (↑)      Melbourne 3.17% (↑)      Brisbane 3.60% (↑)      Adelaide 3.85% (↑)      Perth 4.42% (↑)        Hobart 3.81% (↓)     Darwin 5.48% (↑)        Canberra 3.53% (↓)     National 3.36% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.20% (↑)      Melbourne 6.17% (↑)      Brisbane 6.45% (↑)      Adelaide 5.69% (↑)      Perth 7.53% (↑)      Hobart 4.91% (↑)      Darwin 8.44% (↑)      Canberra 6.16% (↑)      National 6.01% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 36.6 (↓)       Melbourne 40.8 (↓)       Brisbane 36.8 (↓)       Adelaide 31.2 (↓)       Perth 41.1 (↓)       Hobart 41.6 (↓)       Darwin 49.2 (↓)       Canberra 39.9 (↓)       National 39.7 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 36.2 (↓)       Melbourne 39.2 (↓)       Brisbane 33.8 (↓)       Adelaide 30.0 (↓)     Perth 43.3 (↑)      Hobart 43.8 (↑)        Darwin 33.7 (↓)       Canberra 45.3 (↓)       National 38.2 (↓)           
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Bitcoin Demand Booms in Ukraine And Russia

The cryptocurrency has been trading at a premium against the Ukrainian hryvnia.

By Paul Vigna
Wed, Mar 2, 2022 11:44amGrey Clock 3 min

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven demand for cryptocurrencies in both countries, helping boost the price of bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been trading at a premium against the Ukrainian hryvnia on a number of exchanges, both globally and locally, a sign of high demand. On Binance, the largest exchange in the world, bitcoin was trading for the equivalent of $47,300 in hryvnia terms. On Kuna, the largest exchange in Ukraine, it was at US$46,955, and had traded as high as US$51,240.

In U.S. markets, bitcoin was recently trading at US$43,895, up about 15% since Monday morning, according to data from CoinDesk.

On Binance, there has been a surge in trading volume of bitcoin in exchange for rubles since just before Russia’s invasion began. Between Feb. 20 and 28, about 1,792 bitcoins exchanged hands in the ruble/bitcoin trading pair, compared with only 522 in the nine days before that, according to data on Binance.

Western sanctions have effectively cut Russia off from the global financial network, and Ukraine has imposed strict capital controls.

Crypto is popular in Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine ranked fourth on a global adoption index created by analytics firm Chainalysis. A Russian government report estimates that there were more than 12 million cryptocurrency wallets held by Russian citizens with about 2 trillion rubles, equivalent to about $20 billion.

“The situation in Ukraine has brought to light the value of bitcoin as an alternative monetary network,” said Timo Lehes, the co-founder of trading platform Swarm Markets.

A demand-driven rally specific to bitcoin is a break from its recent pattern, which has been to trade in line with risk assets like tech stocks.

Bitcoin’s rally this week wiped away losses for February. Most other cryptocurrencies were higher as well. Ether was up 8.1%. XRP was up 4.9%. Avalanche was up 9.7% and Cardano was up 7%.

On Tuesday, the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.2%.

Because bitcoin trades 24-hours a day, in some cases it has been leading risk assets, not just following.

Last Wednesday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his invasion of Ukraine, U.S. equities markets were closed. Bitcoin fell about 6% overnight, then rallied 13%. On Thursday, U.S. stocks closed slightly higher after a day of wild trading.

Bitcoin dropped almost 9% from the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 18, through the evening of Monday, Feb. 21, amid news of the worsening crisis in Ukraine. U.S. stock markets, closed on Monday for a holiday, didn’t get a chance to react to the news until Tuesday. When they did, the major indexes all lost more than 1%.

Attention has also fallen on cryptocurrencies for their potential to be an outlet for Russians trying to get around sanctions. While cryptocurrencies themselves haven’t been part of the sanctions, the White House has been considering adding them.

On Twitter on Sunday morning, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister requested cryptocurrency exchanges block Russian accounts. “It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”

Ukraine’s Mr. Fedorov didn’t make clear if the request was personal or one on behalf of the government. An attempt to reach him wasn’t successful.

Crypto exchanges largely demurred from enacting any voluntary restrictions in Russia.

Binance said it would not be doing a blanket ban but that it was taking action against those sanctioned by Western countries. Exchanges Coinbase, Kraken and KuCoin also said they wouldn’t be freezing Russian accounts without sanctions or legal requirements to do so.

“We try our best to protect human rights and asset security,” said KuCoin’s Chief Executive Johnny Lyu. “Actions that increase the tension to impact the rights of innocent people should not be encouraged.”

Crypto exchanges regularly comply with court orders and legal requests for data on its users, the same as regulated banks. There was no hint that the Ukrainian government, either alone or in concert, was going to take legal steps to require blocking Russian users.

On the technical side, exchanges have improved their infrastructure over the past several years and would be able to implement these sanctions if required, said Jack McDonald, the chief executive of PolySign, which makes crypto-assets storage software for exchanges and other custodians.

The exchanges have the ability to monitor accounts and transactions, and even know where the deposits are coming from. Funds from known hacks, for example, can and are blacklisted.

“It’s going to prove to be hard for Russia to evade sanctions using bitcoin,” Mr. McDonald said.

Even so, blocked users would still be able to find unregulated exchanges or even more opaque marketplaces for buying and selling their cryptocurrencies.

Part of Western sanctions included cutting Russia off from the Swift network, a bank-owned consortium that handles millions of daily payment instructions.

Western sanctions and restrictions are “bolstering the argument for blockchain products that will compete with the SWIFT network,” said Oanda analyst Edward Moya.

Investors are buying now, he said, in anticipation of an investment wave predicated on building those products.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: March 2, 2022.



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Even amid two international conflicts and an upcoming U.S. presidential election, some philanthropic leaders are optimistic about the direction of overall giving through 2024.

Penta spoke with heads of several non-profits and leading philanthropists to gauge whether charitable giving will continue its reported slump from 2023 or rebound alongside renewed interest in various political and economic issues.

“Contrary to what some might expect, philanthropy has had resilience in these times,” says Stacy Huston, executive director of Sixdegrees.org, a youth empowerment non-profit based in Virginia founded by actor Kevin Bacon in 2007.

Huston’s view echoes recent data from the biennial Bank of America Study of Philanthropy published last year, which found that while affluent giving is largely down, the value of the average philanthropic gift is up 19%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The notion of what these gifts look like is changing, and is partially responsible for the growth. Philanthropy can be executed through more avenues than ever, whether through celebrity association, tech titans stewarding large endowments, or  athletes using their platforms to advocate for and create meaningful change.

“The industry and movement is creating new models, and you want to get it right,” says Scott Curran, CEO of Chicago-based Beyond Advisers. “No one should take their foot off the gas pedal.”

Curran spent a number of years with the Clinton Foundation in its infancy before leaving in 2016 to open his own consultancy, which focuses on philanthropy strategy at the highest levels. Curran and his team work with celebrities, athletes, multi-generational family foundations, and other affluent givers who need guidance in directing their philanthropic efforts. It’s a growing area of interest: Over half of affluent households with a net worth between US$5 million and US$20 million have, or are planning to establish, “some kind of giving vehicle” within the next three years, according to the Bank of America report.

Corporate philanthropy, rather than individual giving, is the cornerstone of Marcus Selig’s work as chief conservation officer at the National Forest Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit based in Montana responsible for protecting millions of acres of public lands.

“Our outlook is business as usual,” he says, advising that giving may slow down, but not enough for the foundation to change course.

Factors such as political polarisation in the U.S. and the wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are pushing nonprofits to consider their niche, and how they might work with other groups, both on the corporate and philanthropic levels, Selig says.

“It leads to a little more sharing on the ground in what needs to be done,” he adds.

Steve Kaufer , founder of Massachusetts-headquartered e-commerce giving platform Give Freely and founder of TripAdvisor, says that the economy has a much bigger role in election years, as he looks to build and grow something that can act as a “counterbalance.”

“There’s a trend towards democratisation, and acting collectively can lead to greater impact,” he says.

Kaufer’s new platform hopes to leverage the everyday philanthropist through online shopping dollars to benefit major charity partners like UNICEF and charity:water, who earn funds as shoppers choose an organisation to benefit through an online clickthrough process.

“Whether a good year or bad year, e-commerce will continue to keep growing,” he says. “Nobody doubts that.”

Whether a legacy foundation, corporation or individual, the political landscape this year is requiring some to exercise caution as they consider what their own charitable actions might be and how it could be viewed more broadly. For the personal philanthropist, every move is now scrutinised more closely. On the nonprofit side, entities are exercising more due diligence to understand if a specific donor aligns with their mission and that there aren’t any underlying issues that could cause greater pushback.

“You have to be able to walk the walk,” Huston says. “For example, we’ve had to turn down very large donor checks from corporations because there’s a Reddit stream calling them out on their human rights practices.”

She adds that even a routine charity activation could now be aligned with a political party, and that adds complexities to how a higher-profile organisation like Six Degrees can activate, especially as the film Footloose turns 40 in 2024 (which Bacon starred in).

“A lot of organisations and states want to align themselves with this feel good moment, and we should be able to stand side by side with everyone, but we have to be aware,” she says.

Another topic attracting donor interest today is  mental health, an area that historically has been underfunded and under-resourced by philanthropy, according to Two Bridge partner Harris Schwartzberg, who has been closely linked to the mental health space for more than a decade.

Today, the issue for mental health nonprofits is less about resources and more about societal divisiveness and polarisation around the topic. There’s an “overwhelming demand” for solutions, but the space is in a “perfect storm” for the broader political issues to make things worse, Schwartzberg says.

In Curran’s opinion, the storms brewing are troublesome, but they are also creating new opportunities for corporate and personal giving. The  current state of philanthropy is one of “dynamic, expansive, and blurred lines,” meaning a careful blending of targeted giving combined with an understanding of the broader geopolitical landscape could lead to a successful overall philanthropic strategy.

“There are a lot of headlines that distract, but shouldn’t,” he says. “2024 needs more serious philanthropists than ever.”

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