Cryptos Into Tanks: Inside Ukraine’s $135 Million Wartime Fund
War. That dreadful word. Breaks borders, lives, properties, and wealth. Since it began in Ukraine, cryptos have managed to be at the forefront of the war.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in a countrywide military attack on February 24, governments and individuals throughout the world have been contributing weapons and money to help Ukraine survive. A significant portion of those assets has been invested in cryptocurrency, which has made a difference on the ground.
According to Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister in the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the de facto crypto spokesperson for the government:
Since March 1, crypto donations have been used to purchase 5,500 bulletproof jackets, 410,000 packed lunches, 500 ballistic plates for bulletproof vests, 3,125 thermal imagers and optics, 500 helmets, 3,427 pharmaceuticals, and 60 walkie-talkies in the war-torn country.
Crypto In Time Of War In Ukraine
According to the official website, Aid for Ukraine has raised approximately $60 million in cryptocurrency since the start of the war. Over 477 BTC ($14.3 million), 9,587 ETH ($17.1 million), $9.9 million in stablecoins (USDT, USDC, DAI), and more in other cryptocurrencies make up the total.
The majority of the gifts were huge sums from major donors, the majority of whom were Ukrainians and international businesspeople doing business with Ukraine.
Over half of all crypto donations, according to Michael Chobanian, founder of Kuna and Aid for Ukraine’s principal treasurer, have been spent in crypto. Approximately 500,000 meal kits were sold for cryptocurrency in the United States. Crypto was used to pay for protective vests, thermal goggles, gunsights, and surveillance drones.
Some firearm dealers informed the fund that they planned to register a Coinbase account and use it to receive payments. Some people provided their personal wallet addresses before deciding what to do with the cryptocurrency they got. Donations in fiat currency have been substantially higher, with crypto accounting for around 40% of total donations.
BTC/USD has crashed to a 52-week low amid war. Source: TradingView
Because private bank transfers of huge sums of money across the border are simply not possible for residents, volunteers who buy goods to aid the army and civilians must rely on cash dollars and euros or crypto. To combat capital flight, the National Bank of Ukraine imposed restrictions on moving money out of the country.
Ukrainians persuaded a shop selling surveillance drones in the Netherlands to take cryptocurrency simply because it was faster and easier than fiat options. Because legally converting bitcoin to euros on a European Union (EU) bank account takes so long, the drone seller had enough time to talk to its legal counsel about accepting cryptocurrency and decide in favor of it.
Despite the donations, the wae in Ukraine has devolved into a grueling artillery duel, with Russia rapidly gaining ground thanks to its massive firepower advantage. As the US and its partners meet in Kyiv on Wednesday to discuss further military aid, Ukraine’s fate will be determined in large part by how quickly and in what quantities these heavy weapons arrive.
On the front lines, Ukrainian troops believe that they have one artillery piece for every 10 to 20 Russian artillery pieces, with each of these weapons receiving only a fraction of the ammunition available to Russian gunners. As a result, they claim that every day that Western heavy-weapons deliveries are delayed results in hundreds of Ukrainian deaths.
President Biden announced $700 million in additional arms deliveries to Ukraine at the beginning of the month, the first installment of a $40 billion aid package authorized by Congress that includes up to $19 billion in military aid. This would increase the total amount of US weapons delivered to Ukraine since the invasion to $5.3 billion. Weapons have also been delivered by the United Kingdom, Poland, the Baltic states, and other allies.
Ultimately, crypto offers a way for individuals to coordinate and help outside government control, while staying transparent, co-founder of the Palianytsia charity fund, Anton Kosheliev said: “We trust the community more than we trust the government. The community helps check and validate people.”
Featured image from Getty Images, chart from TradingView.com