Bitcoin to the rescue: Cryptocurrencies' role in Ukraine
Why has Ukraine turned to cryptocurrencies, and how is the nascent crypto industry changing its reputation and having an impact amid the clouds of war?
London, United Kingdom: Cryptocurrencies have taken on an unprecedented role in the war in Ukraine, helping the government raise millions of dollars to fund its fight against the Russian invasion.
Why has Ukraine turned to cryptocurrencies, and how is the nascent crypto industry changing its reputation and having an impact amid the clouds of war?
How much crypto has been raised?
At the outset of the conflict, Ukrainian officials posted addresses for two crypto wallets on their Twitter account, giving donors a direct and clear address to which to send contributions.
The wallets attracted more than $10.2 million (9.2 million euros) just four days after the start of the invasion.
Since then, more than $100 million worth of crypto has been raised, with the "Crypto Fund for Ukraine" run by Michael Chobanian -– the founder of the Ukrainian crypto exchange Kuna -– accounting for 60 percent of all donations.
"We are still collecting crypto. It is being spent on aid like daily rations and bullet-proof vests and helmets," the 37-year-old Ukrainian told AFP.
Initially, two funds were set up, one for humanitarian purposes and the other to support the Ukrainian military.
However, after the violence escalated across Ukraine, the funds were merged and focused fully on supporting the military, said Chobanian.
He said that the majority of crypto donations came in the form of Bitcoin, Ethereum and the stablecoin Tether –- a coin pegged one-to-one to the dollar.
What are the benefits of donating in crypto?
Aid packages sent to Ukraine in fiat money from the United States and the European Union dwarf cryptocurrency donations, but the latter allow individuals to get involved.
US crypto charity, "The Giving Block", told AFP that cryptocurrency donations have the potential to attract "younger donors" who are looking to support various causes.
Another reason crypto donations are of value to Ukraine is because they are less influenced by geopolitical or macroeconomic factors. Chobanian points to the depreciation in the value of the Ukrainian hryvnia as a result of inflation.
An extra advantage of donating in cryptocurrencies is the speed of the transfers. Bank wires may take up to 24 hours to be validated between two countries. However, cryptocurrency transfers typically take less time.
What are the drawbacks?
Despite the success of crypto in aiding the Ukrainian war effort, it has not always been a smooth ride.
In the early days of the conflict, the deputy minister for digital transformation wanted to issue Ukraine's own crypto as a symbolic gesture for Kyiv's cause, but the project was eventually cancelled.
To make matters worse, people seized the opportunity to mint and market fake versions of the planned government-issued crypto.
"There was a lack of communication" within the government, said Chobanian, who now works closely with the ministry.
"It was the first day of the war," he recalls.
Moreover, cryptocurrencies have become a staple part of Ukraine's shadow economy –- used as a medium of exchange in online crime, tax avoidance and capital flight.
According to data analytics firm Chainalysis, transactions from Eastern Europe to other regions are particularly high, and the company suggests that "capital flight could account" for some of the crypto movement in the area.
What are the consequences?
Despite the risks associated with crypto, Chobanian is confident that it will become a core part of the Ukrainian economy.
"When we win the war, we will rebuild Ukraine using blockchain technology. All of us were helped by crypto," he said.
While Chobanian's aspirations may be very ambitious, they are based on real developments.
On Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky passed a law that would provide a legislative framework for crypto platforms and users to operate within the country.
Caroline Malcolm, head of international public policy and research at Chainalysis, told AFP that the conflict in Ukraine "is forcing governments to develop their understanding of cryptocurrencies and their regulation".
She believes that such discussions can be beneficial to the crypto industry, leading to "proportionate and effective regulatory policies".
As of last week, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order seeking further clarification and guidance on crypto regulation -- showing Washington's willingness to contend with an ever-growing and new asset class.
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New York bans crypto mining using non-renewable powerRead More..
Derivatives exchange Bitget launching in IndiaRead More..
NFL Releases NFT collection on PolygonRead More..
Sustainable Bitcoin mining grew 60% in the past yearRead More..
Bored Ape Club Instagram hacked, NFTs stolenRead More..
Dogecoin surges after Twitter accepts Musk's buyout offerRead More..
Meta to open first physical store in metaverse betRead More..
New York looking to criminalise crypto fraudsRead More..
Popular NFT launch on Ethereum loses $34 million in faulty smart contractRead More..
DeFi platforms at much higher risk than centralised exchanges: reportRead More..
Twitter to allow crypto payments, backed by StripeRead More..
Bahamas may allow residents to pay taxes with cryptoRead More..
Coinbase to acquire BtcTurk exchange for $3.2 billionRead More..
Paris Hilton invests in Afterparty's new NFT ticketing platformRead More..
Ridley Scott to Make a Movie on EthereumRead More..
Russia to include cryptocurrencies in its updated tax lawsRead More..
40 crypto companies sign open letter to EU regulatorsRead More..
BTC and ETH will break all-time highs in 2022: Celsius CEORead More..
Blockchain games are leading the DApp industry: DappRadar reportRead More..
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman calls for global crypto regulationsRead More..
WazirX co-founders shifting base to DubaiRead More..
Blockchain.com reportedly exploring IPO this yearRead More..
CoinDCX raises over $135 million in fresh funding round, now worth $2 billionRead More..
Atari terminates blockchain joint venture with ICICB GroupRead More..
Monero's July hard fork confirmed by its communityRead More..
Backed by Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary, WonderFi set to acquire Canadian exchange CoinberryRead More..
US Govt Links North Korea to Axie Infinity HackRead More..
Jack Dorsey's first tweet NFT resells for only $280Read More..
Opera crypto browser now available on iOSRead More..
Beanstalk Stablecoin protocol loses $182 million in governance exploitRead More..
Jack Dorsey vs. Vladimir Tenev on Bitcoin transaction feesRead More..
Ripple claims 'a very big win' in SEC caseRead More..
Argentinian town to invest in crypto mining to fight inflation, upgrade rail infraRead More..
Pantera Capital closing fundraise for its blockchain fund after raising $1.3 billionRead More..
Homegrown blockchain co Polygon commits to go carbon neutral this yearRead More..
NBA registers four NFT trademarksRead More..
US crypto expert jailed 63 months for helping North KoreaRead More..
Fortnite developer Epic Games raises $2 billion to build for the metaverseRead More..
Indian companies storm the metaverse and NFT spaceRead More..
Coinbase is producing a movie trilogy on Bored Ape NFTsRead More..
Multiple Indian Twitter accounts hacked, NFT content postedRead More..
German police shut down $1.3 billion illegal darknet firmRead More..
Meta tests sale of virtual goods in metaverseRead More..
Bitcoin 2022 Conference: Bitcoin Maximalists attack national currenciesRead More..
Binance Gets In-Principle Approval to Operate as Crypto Broker in Abu DhabiRead More..
EU limits Russians' crypto investments to 10k EurosRead More..
Coinbase suspends UPI payments in India three days after launchRead More..
From KFC to Tesla, Dell: Crypto-curious corporations struggle to find right recipeRead More..
In Texas, crypto miners turn to solar powerRead More..
South Africa concludes technical Proof-of-Concept for its CBDC settlement systemRead More..
Terra buys $200 million in AVAX for reservesRead More..
Bitcoin will remain as a standard: Chess world champion Garry KasparovRead More..
Coinbase launches in IndiaRead More..
Meta working on virtual money 'Zuck Bucks': reportRead More..
Germany closes Russian darknet marketplace HydraRead More..
Britain paves way to accept stablecoinRead More..
Crypto industry reels from $600 million hackRead More..
NFT of Nelson Mandela's arrest warrant auctioned for $130,000Read More..
Bank of England calls for tighter regulation of cryptocurrenciesRead More..
ECB's Lagarde 'concerned' about crypto use to dodge Russia sanctionsRead More..
Crypto provides fix for some in crisis-hit AfghanistanRead More..
Bitcoin to the rescue: Cryptocurrencies' role in UkraineRead More..
Digital art in spotlight as Dubai makes crypto hub bidRead More..
G7 looks to thwart cryptoassets use as Russian sanctions dodgeRead More..
Can cryptocurrencies give Russia, others breather from economic sanctions?Read More..
Cryptocurrencies enter Russia-Ukraine conflictRead More..
Russia seeks to regulate cryptocurrenciesRead More..
Donald Trump's NFT collection to laud his own presidencyRead More..