Bitcoin on the spotlight yet again as Visa, PayPal, and MasterCard bar Russia

  • Bitcoin is trading under $40,000 following a 3.8 percent drop in the past 24 hours as volatility continues to rock the market.
  • Huge tech corporations like Visa, PayPal, and MasterCard have opted to stand with Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with Russia. 

Following the recent sanctions on the Kremlin by leading global economies, who are condemning the Ukraine invasion by Russia, some argue that Putin may use the decentralized blockchain technology to evade sanctions, but this has been challenging as well with crypto exchanges under pressure to abide by sanctions that are in place.

Moreover, every transaction on the blockchain is viewable by all, thereby making it challenging to transact huge amounts. More recently, Russia has been sanctioned by key payment tech companies including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and previously SWIFT.

Nonetheless, as Russia gets cut from the west through payment links, more retailers are expected to use the crypto market due to its indiscriminate nature. According to a recent report by Chainalisis, trading between Russia’s ruble and cryptocurrencies experienced a sharp uptick. This is an indication more people are using crypto assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT to make international payments.

Bitcoin and crypto’s bigger picture in Russia-Ukraine war

Will crypto assets be the alternative route for Russian companies and citizens? The question remains largely vague as the war reaches a critical point. 

Huge tech corporations like Visa, PayPal, and MasterCard have opted to stand with Ukraine. However, some see it as the latest revelation of governments’ interference with tech companies.

“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Visa chief executive Alfred Kelly said in a statement with the company adding it would cut off transactions “over the coming days.”

“We don’t take this decision lightly,” Mastercard said in a statement. “Mastercard has operated in Russia for more than 25 years.”

Notably, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPay have all joined the crypto wagon. Their cancellation of use in Russia, the largest country by area, means over 140 million people in the country cannot access the crypto market through the said payment rails.

PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman stated;

PayPal supports the Ukrainian people and stands with the international community in condemning Russia’s violent military aggression in Ukraine,

Consequently, more shockwaves are expected to be felt in the crypto market in the coming weeks and perhaps years, which will reciprocate to higher volatility.

“[The Visa and Mastercard shutdown] is a bigger earthquake than SWIFT,” tech lawyer Preston Byrne posted to Twitter, adding “trillions of dollars are going to be made building a mirror system that doesn’t respond to American pressure.”

The global crypto market cap has dropped approximately 3.6 percent in the past 24 hours to around $1.78 trillion according to our data. Bitcoin exchanged hands at around $38K.

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