Crypto, NFTs funding Ukraine against Russia Invasion
Ukraine has spent almost $15M of donations received in crypto and NFTs to purchase military gear. The deputy minister in charge of digital transformation has revealed that they have been receiving donations through cryptocurrencies with bitcoin and ether leading in the charts. Interestingly, the deputy minister, Alex Bornyakov, revealed in a series of tweets that they have even received a CryptoPunk NFT worth over $40,000!
Boryakov, on behalf of the Ukrainian Government said that he expects the amount contributed so far towards the war effort to doble within the next few days, and possibly surpass the $100M mark.
Further, Alex has revealed that about half of the suppliers have been willing to accept crypto payments, while the next half been paid in crypto converted to dollar and euro. Bornyakov noted that most of the donations come from ordinary people, amongst crypto startups and founders. In addition, the ministry has also received USD Tether, Polkadot and Solana.
The 2 year old ministry has been working to revolutionize information technology services in the country, while providing high speed access to the internet to enable much of the government services to be offered online. However, the sudden invasion by Russia has forced the ministry to refocus on ensuring that the government services are not interrupted, as well as conducting fundraising on crypto platforms to support war efforts.
The ministry is currently working with two companies towards developing military NFTs to support the war effort. If successful, Ukraine will be the first country to produce military-based NFTs! Alex revealed that the NFT collection will be ready in a fortnight.
No one was ready to do military NFTs, the war just started eight days ago, they are still trying to figure out how to do this in terms of design
On whether the ministry will get rid of its CryptoPunk number 5364 featuring a man smoking a cigarette while rocking a blue bandana, among hundreds of NFTs, Alex reveals that it has been difficult to sell.
Yes, someone donated us a CryptoPunk, but it’s so hard to sell, we haven’t used it at this point, We are going to keep it for now. We appreciate every support that people are trying to give. What’s important is people’s awareness. They see what’s going on, and they are trying to help. We are going to work with NFTs a little bit later, we are focused on things we can deal with right now. There’s no time to figure out how to convert them. Maybe once things settle down we’ll figure this out.
Meanwhile, across the border in Russia, ordinary people are turning to Bitcoin to survive even as sanctions bite. Coinbase CEO revealed in an interview that the platform has observed increased traffic in Russian wallets as many citizens get rid of the plummeting Ruble.
Armstrong said in a tweet on Friday
Some ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline now that their currency has collapsed. Many of them likely oppose what their country is doing, and a ban would hurt them, too.
It is uncertain whether the US might force the US based exchange to impose a unilateral ban on accounts in Russia, which they are currently opposed to.
Kraken CEO revealed in a tweet:
We cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so.
First published on Mar 4, 2022