Bitcoin slumped to its lowest in a month on Thursday after Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast, sparking a sell-off of riskier assets.
Bitcoin fell by as much as 7.9 percent to $34,324, its lowest since January 24, and was last trading down 4.5 percent. Smaller coins that typically move in tandem with bitcoin also fell, with ether losing as much as 10.8 percent.
Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.
The United States and its allies will impose “severe sanctions” on Russia after the attacks, US President Joe Biden said. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell also promised the toughest financial sanctions the bloc had ever imposed.
Global stocks and US bond yields dived, while the dollar, gold and oil prices rocketed higher as investors scrambled for perceived safe-haven assets. European stocks alone plunged 2.6 percent.
“We’ve seen what we’d expect so far - BTC and crypto markets following stocks,” said Jospeh Edwards, head of financial strategy at crypto firm Solrise Group.
“All things tend to correlate in crises, and we're expecting similar here, so worse is likely to be in store over coming days.”
While cryptocurrency proponents say bitcoin acts as a safe haven from geopolitical tensions, it often moves in tandem with other risk-on assets. Its fall on Thursday took losses since hitting a record of $69,000 in November past 50 percent.
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