Cryptocurrencies never fail to amaze me and the sector once again pulled some surprises when Russia made the irresponsible decision (to put it diplomatically) to invade Ukraine, setting off alarm bells across the globe. Initially, that meant red ink for cryptos like Shiba Inu (SHIB-USD).
However, the geopolitical flashpoint then gave way to a positive catalyst.
As promised, Russia’s incursion brought on tough economic sanctions against Russia. When outnumbered Ukrainian forces mounted an unexpectedly ferocious resistance, their bravery encouraged even more aggressive penalties from western allies. Soon, Moscow found its economy deteriorating, with the ruble currency rapidly losing its purchasing power.
In a desperate move to restore stability, the Russian central bank hiked the benchmark interest rate to 20% from 9.5%. Even with this dramatic action, the ruble kept losing value, inviting the prospect of hyperinflation – an inconceivable notion only several days ago.
Once reality set in for everyday Russians that their paradigm was about to take a sharp turn, they did what I imagine anyone would do in the same situation: run to the banks and ATM machines and pull out their money to exchange it for some Benjamins or any other hard currency. But a savvy few turned to cryptos.
Honestly, why wouldn’t they? With the ruble almost destined to fly off the rails, anything of recognized value would be preferable than Russian currency. But would that extend to something like Shiba Inu?
On the surface, crypto is crypto. When you have decentralized digital assets that operate outside the global fiat monetary system, you can essentially sidestep sanctions. If you’re particularly savvy, you might even attempt to time your entry back into rubles, thus profiteering from the troubles.
Still, Shiba Inu probably will march to its own beat and here’s why.
Shiba Inu is a Tough Case for Avoiding Sanctions
According to a Pew Research Center report, only 16% of Americans say that they have used or invested in cryptos. You can look at it in two ways. On one hand, 16% is quite a lot of people. On the other hand, 100% of Americans have used greenbacks. So, it’s going to take a lot for mainstream crypto integration to occur, let alone for a meme coin like Shiba Inu.
Across the globe, Russians have also warmed to virtual currencies, with 17.3 million people or 11.9% of the population owning digital assets. But again, we find a similar backdrop to blockchain integration in the U.S. Yes, nearly 12% is a sizable allocation. However, 100% of Russians have used rubles.
I mention this to try to get into the head of what your everyday Russian citizen might think as their currency implodes. Your first instinct would be to cash out in euros, then dollars, then yen if you’re desperate. But cryptos? At this point, Russians are getting immersed in a baptism of fire regarding the viability of decentralized assets.
Censorship-free currency? Sign me up, especially if that means avoiding the penalties of U.S.-backed sanctions.
However, if someone’s not familiar with cryptos, I highly doubt that they’ll convert to the riskier stuff like Shiba Inu. I’m not knocking the SHIB. Rather, if I had to pick a crypto to put all my paper wealth into because the paper was about to go up in smoke, I would go with the most established, well-known asset.
That eliminates Shiba Inu. Sorry.
Therefore, when I see news about Russians rushing toward cryptos, I’m assuming some of the top names in the sector. I’m not thinking Shiba Inu, which will largely continue to attract its core user base.
Hard to Get
Another factor that would prevent SHIB from being a wartime crypto so to speak is accessibility. If you want to acquire the top three cryptos by market capitalization right now, you won’t have any difficulty doing so, provided you have a modicum of computer skills.
You want to get Shiba Inu? It’s a little bit more of a complicated story. And when you’re in a panic and just want to get wealth protection, you’re going to gravitate toward (relatively) safer and accessible avenues.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just human nature.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.