Money and Markets

Ukraine asking for bitcoin donations is bullish for the cryptocurrency, strategist Tom Lee says

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The Ukrainian government has asked for cryptocurrency donations. SOPA Images/Getty Images
The Ukrainian government has asked for cryptocurrency donations. SOPA Images/Getty Images
  • Ukraine asking for bitcoin donations to support its fight against Russia is bullish for crypto, Tom Lee said.
  • The Ukrainian government has taken in around $17 million in cryptocurrency, according to data provider Elliptic.
  • Bitcoin rose sharply on Tuesday, casting off its recent correlation with stocks that has seen it tumble since November.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The Ukrainian government asking for donations in bitcoin shows the utility of the cryptocurrency and is a positive sign for the market, veteran strategist Tom Lee has said.

Ukraine government accounts have raised around $17 million worth of cryptocurrency after asking for donations to help the country in its war with Russia, according to blockchain data company Elliptic.

"Still think bitcoin is not useful?" Tom Lee, co-founder of financial research company Fundstrat, said in a note to clients on Monday.

He said Ukraine's requests for cryptocurrency "highlights the strength of the case for bitcoin and crypto as digital money." He added: "A sovereign nation is not asking for USD donations, but rather crypto donations. Wow."

Bitcoin has fallen sharply since hitting a record high of close to $69,000 in November. Investors have sold assets deemed to be at the riskier end of the spectrum, including many tech stocks, as they've braced for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates this year.

However, bitcoin and other tokens rose dramatically on Tuesday, as the correlation with stocks appeared to fade. The world's oldest cryptocurrency was up 10% to $43,779 on the Coinbase exchange shortly after 10am ET.

The fact that rich Russians are now looking for ways to get around Western sanctions could also be boosting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, famed emerging market investor Mark Mobius told CNBC on Tuesday.

The US and its allies agreed to cut certain Russian banks out of the crucial SWIFT global payments messaging service over the weekend, and have imposed sanctions on numerous members of the country's elite.

Lee said: "Surely this will force Russia to seek alternative ways to route and access capital. Perhaps Russia might seek its own crypto paths."

The whole cryptocurrency complex was strongly in the green Tuesday, despite the S&P 500 opening lower. Ethereum, the second-biggest token, was up around 9% to $2,982.

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