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Russian Central Bank Reports Significant Increase in Crypto Activity

By Ertix Truepatch
Published in News
May 27, 2024
2 min read
Russian Central Bank Reports Significant Increase in Crypto Activity

RBC states that the Central Bank of Russia has issued a report noting a substantial increase in citizen activity on crypto exchanges and trading platforms. The report covers the period from the fourth quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024.

The central bank noted a 16.4% surge in traffic from Russian users visiting crypto platform websites, such as exchanges or P2P ecosystems, compared to the second and third quarters of 2023. This equates to roughly 104.6 million visits and reflects a 15.1% increase in the monthly average number of Russian IP addresses, according to the regulator.

The Russian Central Bank states that 7% of all the traffic on these overseas crypto exchanges originates in Russia, although this number is below the peak of 9% seen in the first quarter of 2023. The institution claims to have used a tool known as Transparent Blockchain for these calculations. The tool was developed by Rosfinmonitoring, a Russian agency devoted to fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The paper’s authors assert that thanks to Transparent Blockchain, they have determined that Russian crypto volume has reached 4.5 trillion rubles (approximately $50.2 billion). This represents a 15.6% increase compared to the second and third quarters of 2023. Russian people have shown significant interest in projects with the highest market capitalization, such as BTC and ETH, as well as stablecoins like USDT and USDC.

Though the report doesn’t list the crypto platforms used in the calculations, it’s worth noting that previous studies have highlighted major firms such as Binance, Gate, MEXC, Bybit, Coinbase, KuCoin, Poloniex, Bittrex, Probit, Whitebit, Exmo, and others.

In August 2023, Binance announced a ban on P2P transactions involving currencies other than the ruble for users in Russia. A month later, the exchange announced its departure from the territory… The increase in citizen crypto activity is believed to be linked to this departure (the company represented nearly half of the entire flow).

Recently, there has been a redistribution of web activity. Traffic dispersed among five exchanges focused on emerging markets has surged from 39% in the third quarter of 2023 to 64% in the first quarter of 2024.

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However, the report doesn’t just focus on crypto traffic. Authorities took the opportunity to warn users about the “dangers and risks involved in cryptocurrency use”. The Russian central bank, acknowledging Bitcoin’s volatility, has insights to share on the matter:

“It’s crucial to bear in mind the risks associated with potential sanctions from hostile countries. The possibility of losing access to funds cannot be overlooked if they are blocked by stablecoin issuers”.

The regulator suggests that, due to recent geopolitical tensions between the West and Moscow, Russian citizens risk losing funds held by many crypto companies. Additionally, the organization issued several recommendations for Russian financial institutions, such as “not offering financial instruments linked to crypto” and “not advertising services related to the circulation of these projects”.

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