The price of gold and oil took a sudden jump within hours of the US airstrike on Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3. The drone attack also appeared to drive the value of BTC upwards from what had been a drawn-out slump to below $7,000. By the time news of the attack had fully emerged, bitcoin’s post-Christmas hangover had been reversed to the point where it looked set to be building for a challenge on the $8,000 mark.
During the following days of military posturing, the trading volume escalated as investors across the globe began piling savings into cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin’s price – at great odds with the trend it had established in the lead up to Christmas – continued to build before another lurch skywards in the moments after news broke of Tehran’s retaliation in the early hours of Wednesday.
In an instant, BTC was surging to a high of $8,400 – a figure many would have seen as impossible only a week earlier.
Despite the threat of war and bloodshed, many crypto traders are cashing in on the conflict with little care for the potential wider consequences of military action.
One such trader – known as ‘BT_C_gal’ on crypto platform BitMEX explained she had no qualms about making money on the back of the threat of war.
“I’m not responsible for the air strikes, I’m not launching any missiles, and I’m not killing anyone, so I don’t see what possible harm I’m doing by making a profit out of my positions,” said the trader, who purportedly hails from Scotland.
“I’ve been trading in bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin since 2016 and have a good sense of when and how something’s going to go up or down.
“That’s just a skill I’ve developed and has no bearing on the rights or wrongs of war. It’s not as if I’m profiteering from conflict, because that’s a question you should be asking of arms manufacturers and the interests they hold.”
Another trader – ‘Vitza5032’ – wasn’t quite so thoughtful on the matter. Instead, the ‘London-based’ user was keen to express his desire for further conflict.
“If it’s making me money I don’t care,” he said.
“More bombs, more missiles, more international disruption – it all helps me to decide when and where I place my trades and I have no problem with it.
“The more anarchy and disruption we have, then the more people invest into crypto and that just suits me fine. If Trump and Boris want to start a world war then bring it on.”
True to form, since Wednesday’s peak, the cryptocurrency markets have mirrored the international narrative.
As both the US and Tehran offered the glimmer of a veiled olive branch yesterday, bitcoin’s price began to fall.
An apparent ‘stepping back from the brink’ on both sides was matched by a steady decline from $8,300 to below $8,000.