At 4am local time this morning, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a military operation against Ukraine, live on national TV. He claimed the action was necessary to “defend” the Russian-speaking people living in the country. This effectively torpedoed Bitcoin.
Here’s what 3 notable crypto personalities had to say.
Buterin: Ethereum is neutral, but I’m not
Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin condemned the decision on Twitter in his native Russian language:
Very upset by Putin's decision to abandon the possibility of a peaceful solution to the dispute with Ukraine and go to war instead. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a crime against both the Ukrainian and Russian people.
SBF: Do something nice for someone
Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX, also took to Twitter. He was far less succinct than Buterin, offering a Bitcoin price prediction against the backdrop of war:
In the last day, the S&P500 is down about 4%, and BTC is down about 8%. There are 2 types of people in the world: fundamental investors and algorithm followers. Fundamental investors look at the situation and are uncertain which direction BTC/USD should move.
Algorithm followers consult the data. Historically, what's the trend? Over the last year, there's been a really high correlation between crypto and equities. The main reason is monetary policy: moves in expectations of inflation and interest rates change in USD and other fiat currencies.
The algorithms look at the data, and decide based on that: BTC should be 80% correlated to the S&P500, with a beta of 4 (i.e. if S&P500 moves 1%, BTC moves 4%).
Then war happens.
Fundamental investors are neutral, but algorithmic investors see the S&P500 go down 4%, and so expect BTC to go down 4*4%=16% based on historical studies.
Fundamental investors are buying and algorithmic investors are selling; BTC ends up halfway in between, down 8% on the day, half of the 16% that the algorithmic investors predict. At which point their model updates a bit–BTC went down less than the 4x they predicted–and a cycle begins.
He then switches gears:
Maybe the real effect here is liquidity. If you're risk averse, maybe you're selling whatever you have right now, because who knows what'll happen. And markets are illiquid right now–who's buying volatile assets?
He admits he has no idea what will happen next, concluding:
Do something nice for someone. The world could use it right about now.
Nick Schteringard: This man is out of his head
Russian crypto news outlets with staff in Ukraine have felt the impact. Nick Schteringard, chief editor of Russian-language crypto news outlet ForkLog, said the lives of several key members of the team were at risk. He was adamant:
It’s absolutely clear that this man [Putin] is out of his head and has to be stopped.
Schteringard added, perplexed:
I don’t quite understand people who are now taking to Twitter to post about how the war brings an opportunity to buy the dip. What Bitcoin, what stocks, just wake up, the war is at your doors!