Stablecoins gain as bitcoin, ether fall after Russia invades Ukraine – Yahoo News

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Hannah Lang
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stablecoins, which are virtual tokens pegged to traditional currencies such as the U.S. dollar, held gains on Thursday in the midst of a sell-off in risk assets such as stocks and bitcoin after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Most stablecoins were slightly higher on the day. Their market capitalization was up 0.3% at $182.5 billion, according to cryptocurrency data tracker Its daily trading volume, though, surged 75% to $108.1 billion.
In contrast, both bitcoin and ether dropped to one-month lows. Bitcoin was last down 3.1% at $36,121, while ether slid 4.1% to $2,475, following Russia's invasion.
Ukrainian forces battled Russian invaders around nearly all of the country's perimeter on Thursday after Moscow mounted a mass assault by land, sea and air in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.
"You have a risk-off environment that's been happening for months now, and that in some ways has increased the demand for digital dollars, and so we've certainly seen into the end of last year and through today pretty significant growth in demand for USDC," said Jeremy Allaire, cofounder and chief executive officer of Circle, referring to the stablecoin USD coin, pegged to the U.S. dollar on a 1-to-1 basis.
The USD Coin was up 0.1% at $1, coinmarketcap data show. Some of the biggest stablecoin gainers were Fei USD, a stablecoin in the decentralized finance space, which was up 1.2%, and Liquity USD, which rose 1.4%.
"While stablecoins have a much tighter range and less volatility than other crypto assets, in reality their supply is limited," said Joe DiPasquale, chief executive officer at BitBull Capital, which manages crypto funds.
"When there is a spike in demand for assets like USDC on exchanges, it's possible to see their value go up a fraction of a percent, as we've seen in the last 24 hours," he added.
The Russian invasion has dampened the notion that bitcoin is a safe haven, analysts, said. In fact, the world's largest cryptocurrency has behaved more like a risk asset. Since the beginning of the year when the Russia-Ukraine crisis started percolating, bitcoin has lost 22% of its value against the dollar.
Investors have flocked to Treasuries and the U.S. dollar, and even gold, the asset that has been compared to bitcoin.
The benchmark U.S. Treasury yield fell about 4 basis points to 1.9425%, as prices rose, while the dollar index rose to its highest since late June 2020. It was last up 1.2% at 97.382.
Gold surged to its highest since September 2020. It last changed hands at $1,922, up 0.8%.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Hannah Lang; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Russia's invasion had severed Moscow from the rest of the international community. "What do we hear today? It's not just rocket explosions, fighting and the roar of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain lowering and closing Russia off from the civilised world," he said in a video address.
Yesterday, 15-year-old Daniele spoke of music, movies and plans for a school dance. Today, she woke up to the sound of explosions as Russia attacked her city.
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Gold prices jumped more than 2% on Thursday to their highest in over a year and palladium extended a rally as Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation. Spot gold XAU= climbed 1.8% to $1,941.50 per ounce by 0841 GMT, after hitting the highest since January 2021 at $1,948.77. Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities.
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U.S. oil futures topped $100 a barrel on Thursday after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Prices, however, finished with a more modest gain. Oil and natural-gas supplies are still unaffected by the current escalation, but "there is a concern that at some point they may get cut off," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery rose 71 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $92.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after trad
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Russia's offensive in Ukraine has targeted multiple sites in the east of the country. Homes were damaged, and people sought shelter in subway stations in the eastern city of Kharkiv.
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