(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s central bank on Thursday proposed a complete ban on crypto mining and trading. Bitcoin’s reaction: No worries.
The largest digital currency by market value rose as much as 4.2% to $43,463 during New York trading hours. That’s even as Russia, which houses roughly 10% of global Bitcoin mining activities, said digital assets bear the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme and could pose a threat to the country’s financial system.
A proclamation by China last year -- which had earlier instituted a similar ban -- sparked a major selloff because it had been seen as a major regulatory move that affected a lot of mining operations and posed outright antagonism toward cryptocurrencies. So why is there a muted market reaction this time around?
“Bitcoin mining is certainly growing faster than whatever it is losing in these announcements. A good way to say it is the currency is more mature at this point,” David Tawil, president of ProChain Capital, said by phone. “Today, we’ve progressed far beyond this.”
Read more: Bank of Russia Seeks to Outlaw Crypto Mining, Trading
But, as is usually the case for Bitcoin and crypto moves, explanations abound. Here’s a roundup of what investors and analysts had to say about Russia’s move and how crypto prices could be affected:
Scott Freeman, co-founder and partner at JST Capital, a financial services firm specializing in digital assets:
“The recent announcement by the Russian Central bank that they want legislation to ban mining crypto currency has had no effect on the market. We think this is a reflection of the relatively small percentage of mining that takes place in Russia and the fact that the miners were able to adjust so quickly when China prohibited mining. Additionally, we believe more capacity is already targeted to come online in the U.S. and other places where there is access to cheaper and cleaner energy.”
Matthew Sigel, head of digital assets research at VanEck Associates:
“We saw a rapid exodus of miners from China and a temporary drop in the amount of electricity being used to power to Bitcoin network. It took some time for that energy to be sourced from other countries, principally the U.S., and we’d expect the same thing to occur should Russia crackdown on Bitcoin network participants,” he said. “One common thread we’ve seen is that authoritarian dictatorships, such as China and Russia, tend to fear the transparency that the Bitcoin network provides users.”
Marcus Sotiriou, analyst at U.K.-based and Canada-listed digital-asset broker GlobalBlock:
“This news is significant considering Russia’s trading volume last year was reportedly $5 billion and a ban will heavily impact this. However, I think Russia banning crypto is not a big deal in the long term, as other countries, who are more accepting of digital assets, will benefit from Russia’s move should a ban actually be imposed by law. Miners will potentially relocate if they have to, so this ultimately means that miners in welcoming jurisdictions will profit.”
Anastasia Amoroso, chief investment strategist at iCapital:
“There’s been a lot of changes in the crypto ecosystem in the last couple of years and one of them has been a lot of miners relocating from places like China to more favorable locations like the United States. So I think that’s part of the reason why you don’t have a severely adverse market reaction because a lot of that relocation has already been done in the last couple of years,” she said by phone. “Because the crypto community worried about the potential regulatory adversity from places like Russia and China, a lot of mining operations have been moved.”
Max Gokhman, chief investment officer at AlphaTrAI:
“Putin and Xi often follow each other’s policy moves and both are concerned about the capital flight that comes from crypto. Russia, to their credit, was upfront about that,” he said. “Sometimes we see these situations where crypto news is surprisingly slow to filter into prices -- perhaps some HODLers are hoping the policy won’t be signed into law, but to me this seems likely push BTC further down toward the $30,000 level that it’s likely to hit before the next cyclical rally.”
Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex:
“Russia may be an important location for mining but not trading. And I think Russia already bans the use of crypto as money -- i.e. use in payments. I suspect many Russians who hold crypto are offshore accounts. But I am hesitant to push the line hard because then is says there is a rhyme and reasons to crypto movement.”
Larisa Yarovaya, associate professor of finance at the University of Southampton:
The “impact of this will be significant. First, at the very least, it will cause immediate cryptocurrency market reaction, and our recent research shows that such events and announcements are increasing both price and policy uncertainty in cryptocurrency markets. Second, it will cause further miner migration processes and changes in Bitcoin mining landscape,” she wrote by email. “Do not forget the impact of Kazakhstan political unrest here. After China banned Bitcoin, miners moved to Kazakhstan and the U.S., among other locations. Today, I suspect it will be harder for Russian miners to move their businesses to Kazakhstan considering current political situation. Therefore, it might make a bigger deal for Bitcoin/crypto this time.”
John Wu, president of Ava Labs:
“Once again we’re seeing the crypto markets’ resilience to this kind of posturing. This is just the latest installment in a pattern of monetary authorities calling for a ban of crypto, and either seeing no further action or reversing their stance in the near future.”
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.