Pressure from the Kremlin and sanctions from the West have forced Russian news outlet Meduza to increasingly rely on cryptocurrency donations to fund its independent journalism. As the restrictions imposed over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine have prevented its Russian readers from contributing in fiat currency, the Riga-based website now accepts several digital coins.
Meduza Pulls Journalists out of Russia, Seeks Crypto Support
The war in Ukraine has affected Russian-language news site Meduza in more than one way, a report by Bloomberg reveals. Soon after the Kremlin launched its “special military operation,” President Vladimir Putin’s administration clamped down on independent reporting on the conflict and the media outlet has sought help to resettle its 25 journalists in Latvia.
The small Baltic nation of around 2 million, which has a large Russian speaking minority, has become a hub for exiled Russian media. Western sanctions, however, do not allow Meduza’s 30,000 Russian readers who supported it before the conflict to send funds through Stripe, after the payment processor suspended services in the Russian Federation to comply with the penalties.
The war and the sanctions have forced Meduza to turn to its international audience and ask for financial help in U.S. dollars, euros, or cryptocurrency. It now accepts card payments, bank wires, Paypal transfers, and multiple coins including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), the stablecoin tether (USDT), and the privacy-oriented monero (XMR). The report notes that the provided BTC and ETH wallets have already accumulated about $230,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
Commenting on the situation, the news portal’s editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov pointed out that Meduza is currently raising only around half of what it needs to develop. While declining to reveal the total amount of donations, he noted that the website is soliciting crypto and relying entirely on money from foreigners for the first time and stated:
We couldn’t predict that the sanctions of Western governments will come first and destroy our crowdfunding.
Independent Russian media outlets have faced unprecedented pressure from authorities in Moscow and as a result some have shut down, while others have been blocked by the Russian state. The Novaya Gazeta newspaper suspended publication in March after receiving warnings about its coverage, and the Ekho Moskvy radio station had its FM frequency handed over to the state-run Sputnik.
Meduza, which was founded in the Latvian capital after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, during another media crackdown, was labeled last year a “foreign agent” by the Russian government. The designation, which targets Russian media receiving funding from abroad, had already hurt its advertising revenue before the new sanctions effectively ended Russian donations.
Tags in this story
Bitcoin, Crypto, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, Dollar, donations, donors, ether, Euro, Fiat, Journalism, Latvia, Media, Meduza, news, news outlet, portal, reporting, Riga, Russia, russian, Sanctions, Ukraine, War, website
Do you expect other independent Russian publications to turn to cryptocurrency donations to fund their reporting? Tell us in the comments section below.
Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
More Stress For El Salvador As Bitcoin Dips To $29,000
El Salvador has been on the radar of leading financial and economic institutions since it made Bitcoin a legal tender. It has mainly become a spectacle as cryptocurrency supporters and non-supporters alike watch on to see how this plays out. El Salvador which had made good on its bitcoin promise had made multiple BTC purchases at close to the height of the market last year and some this year.
The country now holds at least 2,300 BTC since it made its first purchase in September of 2021. Now that the price of Bitcoin is down significantly since the country had begun buying, how is this playing out for the North American country?
El Salvador And Its Bitcoin
El Salvador had bought another 500 BTC in May after the market had declined to $1.68 trillion. These bitcoins which were purchased at an average price of $30,774 had brought the country’s holdings to 2,301 BTC so far. It would be the lowest price that the country had been able to purchase the digital asset and given that this purchase was only a small part of its larger holdings, the country still remains in loss from its multiple purchases.
Related Reading | Funding Rates Fall To Yearly Lows Following Bitcoin’s Fall Below $29,000
The first time El Salvador had bought some BTC in September, it had been trading above $44,000. What this means is that the digital asset is down about 45% since then. Its entire stash is now worth about $70 million at present prices. So even with the dollar cost averaging method that has seen the country buy BTC at different prices, it is still down 28% from its total purchase value.
BTC falls to $28,000 | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
The move to accept BTC has not only proved controversial on just the bitcoin price side, but it has also affected the country’s ability to receive international aid in the form of loans.
Last year, it was made public that the country had been looking to secure $1.3 billion from the IMF. However, this does not seem likely to happen given that the IMF has expressed its disdain for the adoption of bitcoin as a legal tender.
It has advised the country to remove the digital asset as an official national currency, citing that this could cause problems for the economy in the long-term, revealing that the current account deficit for El Salvador’s remittance and the external financing-reliant economy is estimated to drift around $2 billion for the next three years. But President Nayib Bukele has turned a deaf ear to this.
Related Reading | Crypto Carnage Causes Flight To Bitcoin Safe Haven, Dominance Demonstrates
El Salvador is a country that is heavily reliant on remittances from citizens abroad who send money home to loved ones. For this reason, the president has said that BTC will greatly help make these remittances easier and cheaper for its residents.
On the price side, the president is not much bothered by the recent decline either. He has said in the past that he expects the price of the digital asset to reach $100,000 sometime in 2022. If this happens, then the country will be in significant profit from its BTC holdings.
Featured image from Coingape, chart from TradingView.com
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Bitcoin Selling Pressure Continues As Long-Term Holder SOPR Spikes Up
On-chain data shows the Bitcoin long-term holder SOPR has recently observed spikes, suggesting that this cohort is still continuing to sell.
Bitcoin Long-Term Holder SOPR Spiked Up When Price Crossed $30k
As pointed out by a CryptoQuant post, selling pressure in the market still looks to be high as long-term holders are also looking to sell.
The “spent output profit ratio” is an indicator that tells us whether the overall market is selling Bitcoin at a profit or loss right now.
The metric works by checking the on-chain history of each coin being sold to see what price it last moved at. It then divides the current price (that is, the selling price) with the last price.
When the value of this ratio is greater than one, it means investors are, on an average, selling at a profit at the moment.
On the other hand, values of the indicator less than one imply that the Bitcoin market as a whole is realizing loss currently.
A cohort of BTC investors is the “long-term holder” (LTH) group, who hold their coins for at least 155 days before selling.
Related Reading | Bitcoin Bearish Signal: Whales Ramp Up Dumping
The “LTH SOPR” tells us about profit or loss realization from specifically this group. Here is a chart that shows the trend in this indicator (EMA 144) over the past month:
It seems like the value of the metric has observed some spikes recently | Source: CryptoQuant
As you can see in the above graph, the Bitcoin long-term holder SOPR (EMA 144) had a couple of spikes in the last few days.
One took place on 13th May, while the other occurred on the 18th. During both these instances, the price had crossed $30k shortly before.
Related Reading | Funding Rates Fall To Yearly Lows Following Bitcoin’s Fall Below $29,000
This means that LTHs have been feeling pressure in the current market to realize their profits as soon as the price reaches above $30k.
Usually, Bitcoin long-term holders are the least likely cohort to sell. So, selling pressure from this group can prove to be bearish for the crypto’s price.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price floats around $29.4k, up 3% in the last seven days. Over the past month, the crypto has lost 28% in value.
The below chart shows the trend in the price of the coin over the last five days.
Looks like the price of the crypto has seen some decline over the past two days | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView
Over the past week, Bitcoin has mostly consolidated around the $30k mark, failing to gain any ground above the mark. As long as selling at the level continues, the crypto won’t be able to make any real recovery.
Featured image from Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, CryptoQuant.com
Has Bitcoin staunched its bleeding, or can further downside be expected
Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be considered investment advice
Could a death cross on the price charts of Bitcoin usher in new lows for the year 2022 for the king of crypto? Alternatively, can news such as Grayscale’s ETF applications to the US SEC and the firm’s confidence in a positive outcome in the next few weeks turn the bearish tide?
The Federal Reserve could continue to increase interest rates, and the effect on the crypto market could be bearish in the weeks to come. The charts also pointed toward another push southward.
BTC- 12 Hour Chart
As per the charts, we can see that when Bitcoin broke above the $44k mark in February 2022, and simultaneously set a series of higher lows, the technical structure had a bullish bias to it, and it was expected that the $48k would offer stiff resistance to BTC on its way up.
However, upon the rejection at $48k, the $45k nor the $40k demand areas were able to stave off the selling pressure since late March. In April, Bitcoin saw a slow bleed from $45k to $37.9k, and in May there was a free-fall beneath the $40k area, and a drop as far south as the $26k-$27k levels.
This meant that the nearly 18-month range from $29.5k-$64k has been breached. The trading volume of the past couple of weeks was enormous. Although buyers were able to absorb the cascade toward $26k, do they possess the strength to cause a reversal?
The RSI on the 12-hour chart stood at 39.5, which indicated bearish momentum behind BTC. The 39-42 values have been important in the past, and bulls would be hoping to drive the RSI further higher.
The MACD remained beneath the zero line and its bullish crossover suggested weakening bearish momentum. Yet, the OBV saw a severe dip in May, and another such drop can not be overruled. The CMF also pushed above -0.05 recently but it has remained below this mark for a good portion of the past six weeks, showing significant capital flow out of the market.
The $30k and the $24k area could be great opportunities to buy Bitcoin for a long-term investor. However, another drop below the $30k mark can not yet be ruled out, and investors must make plans for such a price drop.
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