Bitcoin price tops $44,000 as sanctions take toll on Russia

The price of bitcoin has increased sharply by around 15% over the past 12 hours to top $44,000.

The price of one bitcoin briefly topped $44,000 before returning to hover at just over $43,000, according to data provider CoinGecko. Bitcoin had been trading at around $38,000 on February 28.

Bitcoin's price rise comes as the conflict in Ukraine continues, with a Russian armoured convoy advancing on the capital of Kyiv.

Meanwhile, economic sanctions have taken a dramatic toll on the Russian economy, with the rouble hitting record lows yesterday and fears of a bank run gripping citizens.

Certain Russian banks have been cut off from SWIFT, the international payments messaging system. There is also pressure on private firms to block transactions involving Russian customers. Wise, the remittance firm, has suspended its services in Russia.

Ukraine’s government has called on crypto exchanges to take similar measures, and is preparing legal demands to try to force their hand.

Cryptocurrencies have made headlines during the conflict. Ukraine’s government has directly appealed for support in the form of donations in bitcoin, ether and USDT, and has so far raised more than $15 million.