Ukrainians are using crypto to survive
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had devastating effects on the population. The latest from the U.N. human rights office, (OHCHR) reports that, at time of writing, there have been at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 dead, but states that the figures “could be higher”.
The invasion has also displaced hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, with the U.N. refugee agency reporting that more than 160,000 people have been displaced within Ukraine, and more than 116,000 were forced to flee into neighbouring countries such as Poland.
The effects of the invasion are also felt in the financial markets, with the price of stocks and cryptos tumbling with the news. Within Ukraine itself, the central bank of Ukraine suspended cash transfers, and limited cash withdraws, and this move has driven Ukrainians to cryptocurrencies to survive.
A Twitter user and NFT creator, Artyom Fedosov, tweeted how his Ukrainian credit card was not working, cutting him off from his savings. Fedosov said via the tweets that “crypto is the only money I still have”, and how his crypto portfolio would save his life.
Speaking to CryptoVista, Fedosov said he was travelling around the Middle East and central Asia for several months and was supposed to be in Kazakhstan for a week.
“I was going to fly to Ukraine but decided to postpone my flight because of the growing risk,” he said. “And then it happened, so I can’t go back home anymore.”
Thousands replied asking for Fedosov’s crypto addresses in order to support him, and others were concerned that he wouldn’t be able to withdraw the crypto into fiat currency. Fedosov responded with an update that a bank in Kazakhstan has allowed him to open an account, allowing him an off ramp to convert his crypto.
“In Kazakhstan, crypto is not very developed,” he said when asked how he’s using crypto to sustain himself, “but I found a Bitcoin ATM and withdrew some cash. Later I got a local credit card, and now I’m just sending money to it.”
Ukraine raises nearly $10 million in Bitcoin, Ethereum donations
Meanwhile, on Sunday morning, the official Twitter account of Ukraine tweeted that it is taking donations of Bitcoin and Ethereum to assist with fundraising, CryptoVista could not independently verify what the funds would be used for.
Using blockchain analysis, at the time of writing the Bitcoin address had received a total of 109 BTC (US$4.1 million), and the Ethereum address received 1,952 Ether (US$5.1 million) bringing the current total donation value to US$9.2 million.
Crypto industry supports Ukraine
A raft of organisations in the cryptocurrency industry have also donated to Ukrainians. CEO of crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, tweeted that FTX had given US$25 to each Ukrainian on FTX.
Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, tweeted that Binance would be donating US$10 million to “major Intergovernmental Organisations and local NGOs on the ground” in Ukraine, and launched an Emergency Relief Fund which has so far seen 155.38 BTC (US$5.8 million) donated by others.
Co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, retweeted a newly founded charity project called Unchain, which aims to raise cryptocurrencies for NGO’s in Ukraine, and a DAO called “Ukraine DAO”, which is auctioning a “LOVE token”, with proceeds going to Ukrainian charity “Come Back Alive”.