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As Russia’s sanctions hit, the number of bitcoin whales grows

As Western nations stepped up sanctions on Russia’s government and affluent elite, the number of blockchain wallet addresses holding hoard of more than 1,000 bitcoin — almost $43 million — soared on Monday.

According to data recorded by analytics site Coin Metrics, the figure climbed by 7% to 2,226 on February 28. Since June 2021, it hasn’t been that high.

According to Coin Metrics, the number of addresses with more than 100 bitcoin has also increased, albeit more slightly, with a 1.3 percent increase bringing the total to 15,953.

According to Block Research’s own data, the number of addresses with bitcoin balances of more than $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, $1 million, and $10 million has increased slowly but steadily (see chart below). However, according to the data, the largest wallets are expanding at the fastest rate.

What’s behind the spike isn’t entirely obvious. It might be an indication that

“a group of people with large pockets suddenly have strong interests to go into bitcoin,”

That’s, according to Julian Hosp, CEO of Cake DeFi

So, it could be due to a “rebalancing of exchanges or custodial services,” which he described as a non-event.

Other Twitter users hypothesized that the problem could be caused by an infusion of cash from affluent Russians anxious about the impact of sanctions on their fortunes.

Those sanctions, which were imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, have already had a significant impact on the country. That’s, with the rouble hitting new lows yesterday and locals fearing a bank run.

Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin increased by 15% overnight, momentarily reaching $44,000.

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