How Cryptos Are Helping Ukraine Raise Funds In Its Fight Against Russia?
Critics have suggested that cryptocurrency will aid Russia's evasion of sanctions, or that it will be of no benefit to Ukrainians at best. In fact, it's proven to be a valuable resource for them.
I'm Ukrainian and have worked in the blockchain business for four years. I grew up and went to university in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city and one of the most heavily bombed by Russian bombs. I'm one of the organisers of Unchain Fund, a crypto fundraising project dedicated to help in Ukraine that has raised over $6.9 million so far, as well as Away from Ukraine, a displaced Ukrainians communication network.
Since the invasion, about $100 million in cryptocurrency has been donated to Ukraine. Blockchain networks are global and settle transactions in minutes, but a cross-border transaction in the traditional banking system takes three days to settle. Many cryptocurrency donations were sent directly to the Ukrainian government's digital transformation ministry's wallets.
Last week, Deputy Minister Alex Bornyakov noted that 40 percent of the merchants with whom Kyiv works accept cryptocurrencies as payment, and that cryptocurrency donations had been "important." Since "the national bank isn't actually functional," he explained, "crypto is helping to do fast transfers, to make it very quick, and to obtain results virtually instantly."
Crypto donations are also helping Ukrainians both inside and outside the country. Ukraine's banking system is hardly functional, but major crypto exchanges are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through phone or internet.
In the early days of the crisis, crypto-based collaborations such as Unchain Fund and UkraineDAO (a shorthand for decentralised autonomous organisation) arose. Since February 25, Unchain has raised more than $6.9 million in ten cryptocurrencies for relocation assistance, transportation, food, and medical. Three million Ukrainians living in other countries require financial assistance for housing, food, and psychological and professional assistance.
For displaced persons who require reliable income and the ability to convert crypto into fiat currency on a flexible basis, crypto has proven handy. The Unchain Help Card, a crypto-to-consumer debit card, is also being distributed to assist mothers with young children in purchasing goods.
We've now moved on to longer-term solutions. Away from Ukraine is a group that connects displaced Ukrainians to share support, news, job possibilities, and information for handling immigration, medical care, and other issues that come with living in a new nation.
I co-founded NEAR Protocol to empower individuals and lower barriers to access, and I believe in crypto and Web3, the umbrella name for the blockchain-based open internet. Our objective is for everyone to be able to own their data, assets, and governance power. This battle exemplifies why that vision is so important: present global power structures do not provide this possibility to everyone, and they are prone to collapsing under duress. We have the possibility to build more equitable and resilient systems that work for everyone.