Russia frustrated as world responds
033 - Russia Ukraine Update, Crypto pumps
As I wake up Monday morning (it’s about 7:00am right now), I am starting to see reports of heavy civilian casualties in Ukraine, particularly in cities like Kharkiv where the Russians have decided to scale up the use of explosive ordnance and rocket fire. The devastation is clear despite what I have observed to be a roughly 3-4 hour lag we have on getting updated videos, photos, and news updates from the country.
I like anyone else have my own problems in this life, but the scale of my problems this morning are so minuscule compared to what the Ukrainian people are going through it almost makes you feel shameful for caring so much about trivial matters in your past. It’s a great time to have some perspective as young Americans wake up and go about their day, grabbing coffee, going to SoulCycle, trading internet money, maybe anxious about “work” or petty smaller issues we have in our lives, like judging family members for not being vaccinated. Things like getting upset that the grocery store doesn’t have a specific brand of eggs, that your mom is calling you again, or that the Seamless delivery guy is 10 minutes late don’t suddenly seem so important if you pause to reflect.
Because at the same time young Ukrainian men and women, civilians mostly, are picking up AK-47s and Molotovs to physically defend their homeland from tyranny. Last night people were being ripped apart by rockets as civilians watched family members get buried in rubble. Their homeland is being ravaged, cities destroyed, human life in this conflict clearly not even remotely a consideration. Children displaced, bloodlines ended, communities destroyed forever.
Those two life experiences playing out simultaneously on this earth. Pretty wild to think about.
I must be grateful. If you take anything from this conflict let it be gratitude. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see some of the most admirable traits and acts human beings are capable of in the face of evil. President Zelensky standing to die with his country and men (how many politicians these days would do that?"). Civilians, willing to risk their own live’s and sacrifice the life they once knew for a country they love against great odds. What greater love is there really than laying down your life for your fellow man and country? We can learn from the Ukrainians. You can learn, if you stop to pause and think.
MARKETS & CRYPTO
$BTC starts the morning off and day with a massive fuck bears candle to soar to where it is currently trading at $43,000 +. Stocks largely flat with major indices slightly red. I think we are either in a weird limbo before another week or so of red dumping or we may be seeing the decoupling of assets as we enter into March. Inflation is still real, Fed Hikes are still coming, and war may escalate to a larger conflict dragging in more modern nations.
World leaders have expressed concern about the implications of sanctions and disruption to world energy markets in talks on Monday. While equity markets stuttered today, particularly $BTC, shined weathering volatility and continuing to pump well after legacy markets closed at 4:00 pm ET. Let me know below if you’re bullish.
Many have been worried about the possibility of Russia and elite in the country turning to crypto as a means of escaping recent sanctions, but the market doesn’t seem to be reflecting any of those concerns at present. Some important updates to keep in mind:
$BTC is up 16% on the day as we speak. This is the biggest percentage gain in a daily candle since February of 2021.
JUST IN (2:30pm ET - Blockworks): Biden administration is asking crypto exchanges to help ensure targeted Russians follow sanctions
A net $36 million went into digital-asset funds last week with major outflows in Europe but large inflows in the Americas (CoinDesk). Digital-asset investment funds saw $59 million of outflows in Europe, though their counterparts in the Americas netted inflows of $95 million during the week through Feb. 25, a report Monday from the digital-asset manager CoinShares showed.
Ukraine asks Apple's Tim Cook to ban Russia from App Store
Russian Minter announces they are working on one world currency
We will continue to track Bitcoin’s performance against other assets in these volatile times but I love to see this strength here, especially in the face of such a wild geo political stage. Very reassuring.
Compilation of essential titles that I like and have used to gain knowledge on Bitcoin and Blockchain. Highly recommend if you are investing with decent amounts of capital. These books provide a fundamental understanding of what you own and are investing in.
We have seen fierce escalation and sanction linked actions by the international community over the last 12 hours as a result of escalation by Russia in Ukraine. There have been many developments The developments of the last 48 hours have dramatically shifted the economic landscape of the world. I.E. Crypto pumping, yields, Chinese owned foreign exposure etc. Ultimately the next milestone so to speak is going to be if Putin continues with peace talks with Ukraine and if we can reasonably avoid escalation as a result of the growing desperation from Russia as the world turns toward Moscow.
Note: Data as of Sunday
Max Rust and Emma Brown/The Wall Street Journal
Terrified Ukrainian families huddled in shelters, basements or corridors, waiting to find out. Exact death tolls are unclear, but the U.N. human rights chief said 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded — warning that figure was likely a vast undercount — and Ukraine’s president said at least 16 children were among the dead. More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, another U.N. official said Monday — among the millions who have left their homes (Market Watch).
Here are some of the main updates from today:
Russia closes airspace for airlines from 36 countries this morning
FIFA and UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from competitions
Ukrainian officials announced on Monday that dozens of civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded when Russian forces began firing at civilian areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city - videos of breaking content on our Instagram page. Some is graphic.
US confirms it has expelled Russian diplomats at the United Nations in New York City
Civilian death toll in Ukraine at least 102 but feared higher, 304 injured- U.N. (Reuters)
Switzerland has recently adopted all EU sanctions against Russia and closes its airspace to Russian airlines, Swiss Federal Council announces *(Disclose TV)
Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin, issued orders to have nuclear special situation groups on high alert
Russia may seize funds from foreign nationals and companies in response to recent sanctions. - ex-President, Dmitry Medvedev
Though peace talks are beginning, Russia has shelled or attacked in the aftermath since discussions were held
While initial sources seem to be painting the picture that the Russians are already losing the young conflict, I think we would all do well to be weary of premature conclusions, especially considering Putin’s nuclear rhetoric and some of the heavier shelling of civilian cities. This excerpt from the Wall Street Journal sums up the main takeaways from Russia’s actions the last 24 hours or so.
In an indication that Moscow may be shifting to a more destructive approach of targeting civilian areas, two residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, came under heavy shelling on Monday, likely by multiple rocket launchers.
At least 10 civilians were killed and more than 40 injured, with the toll likely to grow because continued shelling made it impossible for rescue workers to reach all the damaged areas, said Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synehubov. “It’s a war crime,” he said. Most of Kharkiv’s residents are Russian-speakers, the population whose rights Moscow says it wants to protect through its military operation (WSJ).
Worth noting this is not unlike the type of aggressive attack strategies the Russians employed in Georgia and Crimea. It seems that as Putin’s frustrations grow, so do the threats of this conflict growing. Somewhere in my Machiavelli or 48 laws of power studies throughout my life I have come across the advice to take extreme caution when dealing with a man out of options or who is backed into a corner, you know, desperate man kind of thing.
Important to emphasize as we enter the 6th day of conflict tomorrow that Russia’s financial system is starting to feel the impact of Western sanctions imposed over the weekend, which are starting take many forms and scaling to become increasingly disruptive. The Russian currency, the ruble, nosedived and Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 20% to try to prevent an outflow of deposits from Russian banks as sanctions curb their access to international markets. There have been reports and videos of bank runs starting to occur in Russia which is when people scramble to try and take their money out, fueled by uncertainty or a lack of trust. Russia has responded to the changing momentum with more aggressive rhetoric and sabre rattling, including veiled nuclear threats.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the countries supporting Ukraine with lethal weapons would bear responsibility if they are used at any time during Moscow’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine. This no doubt was aimed at the United States. President Biden just hours ago committed to more aid to Ukraine. One has to ask at this point how this conflict evolves if the United States and other NATO countries continue to support Ukraine with weapons, economic sanctions, and other crippling initiatives against Putin. It does concern me.
As of this evening these are the major devlopment to keep in mind.
We will continue to cover Ukraine and Russia developments as long as the conflict seems to have the potential to become more serious.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON RUSSIA/UKRAINE:
Will shoot for a new ARB Letter for Friday morning.