Market Wrap: Cryptos Crumble After Russia Bombs Major Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant

BTC, ETH and equity markets saw a sharp sell-off after Russia bombed Europe’s largest power plant


Blockworks exclusive art by axel rangel


key takeaways

  • Russia aggressively shelled, then seized, a major nuclear power plant in Ukraine, showing disregard for a potential meltdown of the plant
  • Bitcoin, ether and all major indices fell, while gold and oil continued their march higher

Equity and cryptocurrency markets fell Friday after Russian shelling sparked a fire at Ukrainian nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear plant in Europe and is responsible for one-fifth of Ukraine's power.

The fire was put out, but workers are now operating the plant at gunpoint, according to Telegram messages from Petro Kotin, the head of the state-owned nuclear power site.

Russian forces "entered the territory of the nuclear power plant, took control of the personnel and management of the nuclear power plant," Kotin said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky released a video regarding the attacks, reminding everyone of the infamous Chernobyl meltdown.

"I address all Ukrainians, all Europeans, everyone who knows the word 'Chernobyl,' everyone who knows how many victims that explosion of a nuclear plant brought," Zelensky said. "Russia wants to relive it and is already doing it."

Markets fell sharply as the news spread, with the S&P 500 declining 0.81% and the Nasdaq and Dow dropping 1.92% and 1.09%, respectively.

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Crypto markets took an even worse hit, with bitcoin plummeting over 7% and ether falling closer to 8% by the end of stock trading hours.

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Top stories

Story: CVS Files for NFT-related Trademarks in the Metaverse

  • “This signals that brands are paying attention [to the metaverse], meaning they are staking their claim similar to how people sit on domain names,” Jenna Pilgrim, a blockchain startup exec, told Blockworks
  • CVS mentioned NFTs and blockchain technology in its application

Story: Crypto Is a ‘Lifeline’ for Russian Citizens, Coinbase CEO Says

  • More users are turning to crypto in Russia as the war in Ukraine intensifies, data show
  • The notion that crypto is being used to avoid sanctions is unfounded, the CEO said

Story: Funding Roundup: $1.34B Invested in Crypto Companies and Funds This Week

  • The total money invested this week came from over 20 deals and funds, PitchBook data showed
  • Prominent venture capital firm a16z invested $70 million into DeFi staking platform Lido on Thursday

Story: Latest in Crypto Hiring: Ledger Enterprise Has New Leader

  • Another former Block executive joined crypto payment company MobileCoin
  • An ex-Citi executive was tapped to lead the growth of the Provenance Blockchain

Going forward

Bitcoin briefly aligned with gold and other safe havens this week as the Ukraine crisis grew, and sanctions on Russia pushed its population to shed rubles for other assets. But the latter half of the week proved otherwise, with bitcoin tumbling along with equities and safe havens like gold continuing to push higher.

Markets are likely to remain highly volatile as the mid-March Fed meeting approaches and conflict in Ukraine builds.

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