CEXs refuse blanket asset freeze of all Russian users, though questions linger
For now, ordinary Russians may still access services on centralized exchanges, but that may change in the future.

Centralized exchanges (CEX) and CEOs from companies such as Binance, Coinbase and Kraken have all stated they would only freeze the assets of Russian clients specifically targeted by Western sanctions — not that of everyday Russian users.

A few days prior, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, had called for “all major crypto exchanges to block [wallet] addresses of Russians” and “also to sabotage ordinary users [by freezing their assets].” In explaining why he was not preemptively banning all Russians (though, Coinbase is not available in Russia), Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, specifically wrote:

“We believe everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise. Some ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline now that their currency has collapsed. Many of them likely oppose what their country is doing, and a ban would hurt them, too.”

However, Armstrong also said that “if the U.S. government decides to impose a ban, we will of course follow those laws.” The sentiments of this statement were echoed by Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, who stated:

“Kraken cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so. Russians should be aware that such a requirement could be imminent.”

Unsanctioned individuals appear to be feeling the effects of sanctions even so. The day prior, Binance announced that cardholders of sanctioned Russian banks would not be able to use them on its platform. On Friday, Redditor u/Sammy12xyz raised the issue Iranian crypto enthusiasts face amid calls for CEXs to crackd own on Russian customers, claiming:

“It’s already happened to Iranian accounts. We’ve been blocked out of Binance for two years, and no one’s said shit. Are we not innocent?”

Despite such sanctions, it appears there are several, albeit limited, ways to circumvent them. As one KuCoin moderator wrote:

“Users from Iran can use our exchange, but KYC [Know Your Customer] is not supported. If you wish to proceed without doing KYC, you may still perform all functions on our exchange as normal, even if you are not verified. However, there will be a withdrawal limit of 5 BTC per 24 hours for unverified accounts.”

In addition, CEX bans on Iranian IP addresses can be allegedly bypassed with VPNs. Although one Iranian crypto enthusiast Cointelegraph spoke to claimed that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) are needed in the first place to purchase VPNs in Iran, as such services do not accept fiat payments from Iranians due to sanctions.

Institutions increase exposure to Grayscale Bitcoin Trust as GBTC discount nears 30%
More capital enters the flagship Grayscale trust as it eyes regulator approval to become an exchange-traded fund later this year.

Institutional investors are returning to accumulate Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares as the discount to spot price his risen to nearly 30%, data on Glassnode shows.

Since December 2021, some weekly sessions saw investors pouring in between $10 million and $120 million into Grayscale's flagship fund. Meanwhile, the biggest capital inflow — amounting to nearly $140 million — appeared in the week ending on Feb. 25, as shown in the chart below.

Institutional Grayscale Investments since September 2021. Source: Glassnode

No selloff yet among high-profile GBTC backers

The GBTC trust attracted investments as global markets faced back-to-back shocks in the past few months, including a dramatic selloff in the technology stocks, followed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine that left many fund managers with a double-digit percentage loss.

For instance, Cathie Wood's ARK Next Generation ETF (ARKW), which holds $478 million worth of GBTC, crashed by nearly 45% year-over-year, primarily owing to its exposure in the sectors that suffered the most during the recent market turbulence, including technology (43.14%) and communication (27.99%).

ARKW weekly price chart. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin loses $40K as BTC price support levels give way to 1-week lows
Bitcoin fails to turn $40,000 to support once more as BTC price action hits weekly lows.

Bitcoin (BTC) stayed below some critical support zones into the weekend after a late sell-off cost bulls the $40,000 mark.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView painted a lackluster picture for BTC/USD Saturday — the pair lingering near $39,000 after seeing lows of $38,600.

Traders had hoped that various price points above $40,000 would be sufficient to steady the market after its latest run to $45,200. In the event, however, bids failed to preserve the trend, sending Bitcoin back to the middle of a range in which it had acted throughout 2022.

#Bitcoin is hanging onto the edge of a cliff the past few hours pic.twitter.com/dAD2AveTOi March 5, 2022

In a market update released Friday, Filbfilb, cofounder of trading suite DecenTrader, had highlighted $36,000 as a potential target for shorts should the area around $39,500 fail to hold — something which ultimately proved to be so.

Bitcoin, he said, was “still rangebound on a macro level,” but support was there as a “rising tide,” which looked apt to preserve long-term structures. Among these was the 200-week moving average (MA), now above $20,000 and rising, which should provide definitive support, as macro markets experienced something similar to the March 2020 COVID-19 crash in terms of sentiment.

“Systematic risk in the market is high and as a result, volatility should be expected and trade size and duration should be considered with this in mind,” Filbfilb advised.

This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

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