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Ukrainian government and NGOs are collecting cryptocurrencies to help the people in the disaster
Uncertainty and intensifying war situations in the Russia-Ukraine zone have lent volatility to the cryptocurrency market. Popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have also hit the rock bottom after Russia invaded Ukraine. Surprisingly, cryptocurrencies emerged as a key variable for war-torn Ukrainian people. These digital tokens are being used as a currency of exchange across the borders besides enabling the Ukrainian government and NGOs to provide emergency services to the citizens.
Clearly, cryptocurrencies are helping both parties bypass western financial sanctions. On the one hand, Russia is leveraging cryptocurrencies to overcome the financial embargo unlike in 2014, when it had to give in to western pressure, on the other hand, Ukrainians are using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherium to survive the financial crisis imposed by Russia’s hegemonic war interventions. After the war broke out, the Ukrainian Government suspended foreign exchange market transactions and electronic fund transfers. Since then, these cryptocurrencies have been serving as the sole means for financial transactions. Ukrainian government and NGOs are also digging into cryptocurrencies to provide basic amenities to the citizens. For people fleeing the country, these cryptocurrencies are the legal tender for all transactions.
Donations in Cryptocurrencies are the new norm in Ukraine
On February 26, Ukraine’s official Twitter account shared two cryptocurrency wallet addresses, a Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet address, asking the global population to stand with the people of Ukraine by donating digital tokens. Although people initially thought that this might be a hoax or the account could’ve been compromised, the higher officials including Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, reshared the Tweet to prove otherwise. Besides, a spokesperson of Ukraine’s ministry of digital transformation confirmed that the tweet is genuine.
Since then, many people have started sending Bitcoin and Ethereum donations to the wallet. At the time of writing, the Ethereum wallet has recorded 7,341 transactions while the Bitcoin address registered 7,873 transactions. So far, a total of US$36 million worth of funds have been collected from the government and private wallet addresses.
Digital Tokens are Ruling the Roost.
Despite the ongoing crisis, some fintech and payment companies have refused to allow groups from supporting the Ukrainian military through cash funds. As a result, the government and NGOs are turning to cryptocurrencies. After the conflict broke out, Patreon, a fundraising platform has suspended the donation page “Come Back Alive”, citing that it has violated the company’s policies.
But raising cryptocurrency funds has become comparatively easy. Although the usage of donated cryptocurrencies is not clarified, it has gained a lot of attention over the past week.
On the sidelines, we are also facing threats from scammers. According to an analyst, at least one of the social media posts collecting funds for Ukraine seems to be fake. They have copied the tweet of an NGO but swapped the Bitcoin address.
How cryptocurrencies are coming to the rescue of expatriates?
Even though the situation was uncertain for a while, Ukrainians didn’t expect Russia to invade their country overnight. In this scenario, the only thing that Ukrainians are doing is escaping from the country. However, the government has suspended electronic cash transfers and ATMs have been overrun. Besides, the borders have also been closed for all men of the fighting age. But some of them have found loopholes and deserted lands to escape the war-haunted Ukraine.
As reported by Bitcoin Magazine that got in direct touch with a Ukrainian who escaped to Poland, he is making the ends meet, thanks to his Bitcoin savings. He has been working as the webmaster for a company called Helios Fund, which paid him in Bitcoin since he joined. Fortunately, that was the only thing he could bring with him when he arrived in Poland.