The Ukraine conflict is still brewing pretty hot. Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't giving up his fight, and hundreds have already died due to this crusade.
However, with the Ukrainian government and its people now pleading for help, crypto has become one of the best ways to get money through to them.
The Crypto Money Floods In
Ever since the Ukraine conflict broke out, the country's government has been looking to get more funds to repel the Russian invasion. And, in what has now become the first truly global scale conflict since the crypto market became mainstream, crypto itself has not disappointed.
On February 26, the official Twitter account of Ukraine's government asked that concerned people donate crypt to its official wallets. The tweet included wallet addresses for Bitcoin, Ether, and the USDT stablecoin, and donations began pouring in immediately. Industry news sources confirmed that Ukraine had already gotten $37 million in crypto donations two days later.
At the time of the analysis (before March even started), the biggest recipient of donations was the Reserve Fund of Ukraine - a nonprofit backed by Kuna, a crypto exchange in the country. According to the platform's Telegram page, it already got almost $15 million in crypto donations to support Ukraine.
Come Back Alive - a non-governmental organization aiding the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the country's resistance - had also gotten almost $10 million in crypto donations. The organization raised funds back in 2014 when the war in Ukraine's Southeastern region of Donbas began. However, now that Russia's invasion has gone full scale, the donations have been pouring in.
Crypto Companies Step Up Too
Another interesting thing to note about this conflict has been how quickly the crypto community has rallied around Ukraine. After the government stated that it would accept crypto donations, Gavin Wood - the founder of the Polkadot network - asked that they open a wallet to receive the platform's DOT tokens.
Wood even shared steps for the government to create a Polkadot wallet promising to donate $5 million to the resistance effort. The founder eventually kept his word, donating a total of $5.7 million at the time.
The donations haven't stopped there. Several crypto exchanges have also done their part to help the resistance, with FTX donating $25 to every Ukrainian on its platform and other companies doing their best to help out as much as they can.
To kick off March, UkraineDAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - crowdfunded 2,188 ETH (about $6.1 million at the time) after selling a non-fungible token (NFT) of the Ukrainian flag. All proceeds went to nonprofits across Ukraine and the families of those who had been affected by the Russian invasion.
Even anti-war Russians are now donating to Ukraine. Pavel Muntyan - a famous Russian animator - took to social media to garner support for Ukraine as well. He opened a crypto donation address for Russians who would like to anonymously support Ukraine, even despite the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia officially warning that any assistance to Ukrainians during this period will be considered an act of "high treason."
No Way Out For Russia
Despite all of this, there have also been questions concerning the use of cryptocurrencies to evade economic sanctions being put on Russia. Already, several Russian banks have been banned from the SWIFT banking system, and oligarchs are now fleeing and scrambling to protect their wealth. With all of this, there have been concerns that Russia's elite - and perhaps even the Kremlin itself - cul use crypto as a way of evading these sanctions.
Jake Chervinsky, head of policy at crypto policy promoter the Blockchain Association, has quelled any fears thus far. Chervinsky explained that Russia would not find a way to use crypto in a Twitter thread.
As Chervinsky explained, the sanctions haven't been limited to dollars so far. All U.S businesses are now prohibited from doing business with Russia, regardless of their field.
The policy head also pointed out that the financial needs of a large country like Russia are much more than what the crypto market can handle for now. So, even if Russia could source the money it needs from crypto, hiding its transactions would be impossible.
Lastly, the fact that Rusia doesn't even have a crypto regulatory framework also dooms the country's prospects of using the same assets as a hedge. The world continues to wait as this conflict unfolds, but crypto will continue playing a critical role.