Trading volume in tether (USDT) using the Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) fiat currency on crypto exchange Binance continues to see strong growth, reaching a new war-time high on Wednesday this week. Meanwhile, trading volume in both USDT and bitcoin (BTC) using Russian rubles is down significantly since the aggression on Ukraine started.
According to trading data from Binance, which is the only major international exchange that deals with both the Russian ruble and the Ukrainian hryvnia, volume in the USDT/UAH pair saw a significant jump on Wednesday this week, 20 days after the war started.
The 24-hour trading volume in USDT/UAH reached USDT 9.83m on Wednesday, well above the USDT 8.69m seen on February 24, the day Russian forces first attacked Ukraine.
Price and volume of USDT/UAH on Binance:
A slight increase could also be seen in BTC against Ukrainian hryvnia on Wednesday, although the current level remained much lower compared to the peak from the day the war broke out.
Russian volume falls
At the same time, trading volumes using the Russian ruble have not kept up with the increase seen with the Ukrainian hryvnia.
The USDT/RUB pair on Binance on Wednesday recorded a 24-hour trading volume of USDT 8.61m, well below the war-time high of USDT 37.19m seen on March 7.
Price and volume of USDT/RUB on Binance:
Similarly, demand for BTC among holders of Russian rubles has also fallen significantly.
As of Wednesday, the 24-hour trading volume in Binance’s BTC/RUB pair had fallen to BTC 121, down from the high of BTC 506 seen on March 7.
It is worth noting that March 7 was the day with the largest US dollar move against the Russian ruble so far since the war in Ukraine began. At its peak, the US dollar was up by over 33% against the ruble for the day before reversing lower again.
Premiums remain in Ukraine
In terms of premiums, Ukrainians still had to pay well over the market rate in order to get access to tether via Binance, with each USDT trading for a price in UAH equivalent to USD 1.08 (at 13:23 UTC).
In Russia, meanwhile, the situation has turned around, and USDT traded at a discount relative to its international market price. At the time of writing, USDT 1 traded at a ruble price equivalent to USD 0.98.
A possible explanation for the discount and falling trading volume with the Russian ruble is the ban on Russia-issued cards from Visa and MasterCard that Binance announced on Tuesday this week.
‘A viable use case’ for crypto
Commenting on the demand that has been seen from both Russia and Ukraine since the war started, Martha Reyes, Head of Research at the crypto brokerage BEQUANT, said that global bitcoin prices had already been impacted by it.
“While volumes were small relative to the overall market, the trend led to a short squeeze and a bounce in bitcoin prices,” Reyes said in comments shared with Cryptonews.com.
She added that “ordinary citizens are increasingly seeing crypto as a viable use case,” while citing Turkey – which has struggled with very high inflation – as a “recent grass roots example of people flocking to crypto to protect the value of their savings.”
“It is no coincidence that digital assets have high adoption rates in these markets,” Reyes argued.