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Bitcoin prices and other cryptocurrencies tumble after Russia attacks Ukraine

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A representations of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken May 19, 2021.
Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Cryptocurrencies fell sharply on Thursday after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine.

Bitcoin was down more than 8% at $34,702.18 at around 2:25 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to Coindesk data. That was the lowest level in a month. Ether plunged more than 12% and was trading at $2,325.18.

More than $150 billion has been wiped off the entire cryptocurrency market in the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap data.

The drop in cryptocurrency prices comes as global equity markets tumble following Russia’s military attack on Ukraine. NBC News reported that explosions were heard in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

Cryptocurrencies price moves are often correlated to movements in other risk assets such as stocks.

“Risk assets continue to be weighed down by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and tensions. This includes Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies which are currently still very much viewed as a high risk asset class,” said Vijay Ayyar, vice president of corporate development and international at crypto exchange Luno.

The U.S. and the U.K. have slapped sanctions on Russian banks, individuals and the country’s sovereign debt. The European Union will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday and could reportedly unveil further sanctions on Russia.

Cryptocurrencies have been under pressure since bitcoin hit a record high of nearly $69,000 in early November. Since then, bitcoin has fallen nearly 50%.

Ayyar said that bitcoin could see lows at around $30,000 mark with the key level being the low of between $28,000 and $29,000 seen last July.

If bitcoin manages to hold above that, then it could move to new highs later this year, Ayyar said. But he added that if the price falls below that, then bitcoin could move to the low $20,000 mark.

Last week, the CEO of Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Huobi told CNBC that a new bitcoin bull market may not happen until late 2024.

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