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Crypto Volumes on Major Russian Exchanges Plummet by 50%

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Trading cryptos on Russian-denominated major exchanges has stalled.

Bitcoin rallied more than 15% last week. Some industry experts attributed the surge to Russia’s purchase of the cryptocurrency amid mounting sanctions. However, this theory appears to be wrong. Data from Chainalysis shows that ruble-denominated cryptocurrency trading volume was only $34.1 million as of Thursday, about $70.7 million a week earlier on February 24, Half the recent highs.

Experts have dismissed the idea that cryptocurrencies could help Russia evade economic sanctions. However meanwhile, the United States and the European Union are increasing regulatory scrutiny of digital assets.

Recently, the state of New York increased its blockchain monitoring capabilities to further prevent cryptocurrencies or digital assets from being used to support Russian interests.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order on February 27. The order directs state agencies to divest the Russian agencies, companies, and entities that support them.

Many of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges have decided to blacklist sanctioned individuals and entities. However, Binance declined a request to censor the accounts of “innocent” Russian customers.

Crypto Markets Fall As Russia Bombs Europe’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant

Russian troops blew up the Zaporizhzhia power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, sparking a fire when they flashed binding Ukrainian energy. The Zaporizhzhia power plant provides more than one-fifth of Ukraine’s electricity.

However, the attack hit the cryptocurrency market again, sparking investors’ fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). The total cryptocurrency market capitalization fell 4.25% on the last day.

In addition, the total trading volume of the crypto market has plunged by about 8% in the past 24 hours and is currently at $85 billion. The dominance of the market’s top coin, Bitcoin, fell to 0.19% on the day.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is among the top 10 cryptocurrencies with price declines over the past 24 hours, along with Ethereum (6.41%), Tether (0.01%), BNB (3.09%), USDC (0.04%) ), XRP (3.71%), Cardano (4.68%), Solana (6.83%) and Avalanche (5.98%).

The most prominent cryptocurrencies in the market, Bitcoin and Ethereum, were previously uptrend. However, prices are likely to remain volatile as tensions in Ukraine continue to escalate.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve has confirmed that the central bank is pushing to raise interest rates this month to fight inflation despite the ongoing conflict. Investor participation in the crypto market should decline, which will lead to further price declines.

The City Of Lugano De Facto Accepts Bitcoin As Legal Tender

As part of a partnership with Tether, the southern Swiss city of Lugano plans to have many local businesses accept some cryptocurrencies as “de facto” legal tender.

During Thursday’s City Plan B event, Tether’s chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino said the company has partnered with Lugano officials to set up a CHF 3 million fund to back Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), and LVGA to promote tokens for stores and businesses across the city.

The project aims to attract talent from space to Lugano and make the city a central European blockchain hub.

The project enables Lugano residents to pay their taxes using crypto. The new project also expands the payment of parking tickets, public services, and student tuition fees. More than 200 stores and businesses in the region also should accept crypto payments for goods and services.

Ardoino cites the work done by the El Salvadoran legislature for the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In September 2021, the country’s Bitcoin law came into effect. The law allowed all residents and tourists to use BTC as legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar. The Swiss franc remains legal tender in Lugano and throughout Switzerland.

As part of the partnership, Tether said it would create a fund of up to 100 million Swiss francs to fund blockchain-based startups in the region and create $1 billion worth of crypto unicorn projects. Polygon will also act as an infrastructure partner for settling stablecoins in Lugano.

With around 63,000 inhabitants and the eighth-largest city in Switzerland, Lugano will host the Bitcoin World Forum conference in October.

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