Examining the crypto market’s reaction to the Russia–Ukraine crisis


February saw a noticeable shift between inflation and U.S. Federal Reserve news, followed by news of a conflict in Eastern Europe that completely overshadowed the earlier concerns of economic health. What’s transpiring in Ukraine is causing an immediate marketwide price drop. Bitcoin (BTC) had a notable decline of 11% over a 16-hour time period, while the majority of altcoins plummeted 20% or more.

The initial expectation was for the war to have a negative impact on cryptocurrency prices, which it did for a short period of time. However, as fear set in, prices quickly ramped up.

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But the short sample size of days thus far has indicated there are reasons to believe that the crisis can have a positive effect on BTC and altcoins, just like was seen in March 2020, with the mainstream COVID consciousness.

Sentiment turned fearful but eased after prices rose

Sentiment is often a good gauge to figure out what the trading crowd expects to happen next. Over the past month, the crowd sentiment as a leading indicator was extremely effective.

On the tail end of Fed and inflation discussions in early February, cryptocurrency prices rose sharply, peaking by the middle of the month as Bitcoin topped $45,000 before a steep correction. FUD was the overarching theme when the war broke in late February, but the sentiment improved as prices recovered quickly, causing many to speculate that prices dropping was nothing more than a “dead cat bounce.”

Now, traders have entirely switched back into being mildly bullish toward Bitcoin. It’s important to mention that cryptocurrencies could be especially volatile as they currently cling to the rapid developments of the European crisis.

30-day price returns all over the map

The case for being a Bitcoin maximalist was very much on display over the past month of volatility. Yes, there were many projects such as Terra (LUNA), XRP and Shiba Inu (SHIB), among many others, that came out ahead of BTC in terms of percentage market cap gained.