Russia-Ukraine War: the Role of the Crypto Community
By now we are all aware of the events that are happening in Ukraine. Immediately a necessary PREAMBLE: with this article we absolutely do NOT want to offer political or economical hints, and we do not want to enter in complex and painful themes that do not belong to us. More simply we want to try to make some reflections of "socio-technological" nature, limiting ourselves to analyze from a technical point of view some actions carried out on the web by users in crypto key. Our intent then is to underline the role that cryptocurrencies are playing in this particular historical context, that is the role of trustless payment means for a donation campaign.
Appeal of the Ukrainian Government on Twitter
On February 26th, 2022, the Ukrainian government launched an appeal to the World through the Twitter platform. In the tweet, which came from the country's official profile, it is written that it is possible to make donations using the deposit addresses for Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT (in general, all transfers in ERC-20).
Crypto Crowdfunding for Ukraine: historic event
This is an event that will certainly go down in history. This is the first "crypto crowdfunding"organized worldwide to support through humanitarian interventions a population that is in a war situation. Cryptocurrency campaigns had already been carried out in the past, but never one on such a large scale, in such a delicate context and under the spotlight of the entire globe. The crypto community expressed their solidarity by donating a few Satoshi or some ETH. In just over 24 hours about 10 million dollars were collected, part of which was immediately spent by the government, using the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance. To date, are fundraising campaign has reached considerable numbers:
- 221 Bitcoin
- 4510 Ethereum
- and 1 million USDT
All of this information is public as every transaction made on Blockchain can be accessed via a Block Explorer. This below is the Bitcoin Address of the Ukrainian Government:
Ukraine: Airdrop with Token as a gift
In recent days, given the success of the fundraising campaign, the Ukrainian government wanted to thank all those who donated part of their cryptocurrencies as a sign of solidarity. Thus, it announced on Twitter the holding of an airdrop for those who used the Bitcoin or Ethereum network in the fundraising campaign. A Snapshot will take place to decree the individuals who will benefit from the tokens as a gift, on March 3, 2022 at 5 pm. This initiative has created a broad online debate that has seen social unleashed with a substantial polarization of opinion, namely two groups of people who view the entire initiative in diametrically opposed ways:
- those who see it as a nice way to leverage web technologies3
- Those who see it as a mean move that instrumentalizes the gesture of donation
Crypto Community on the War in Ukraine
There are many prominent figures in the worldwide Crypto Community who have expressed their point of view on the issue. The following are some of the main statements made by:
- Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum
- Changpeng Zhao, founder of Binance
- Justin Sun, founder of Tron
- Jesse Powell, founder of Kraken
Vitalik, in addition to having personally sponsored the campaign, through his social profiles, wanted to remind us of a very important concept. Technology, like Ethereum, is neutral on socio-political issues, but humans are not, just like the founder of Ethereum, who explicitly supports Ukraine.
The founder of the exchange Binance has declared that he will respect the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia and therefore will proceed to ban access to the platform to all Russian citizens, as reported by Bloomberg. Changpeng Zhao also announced the donation of $10 million to the people of Ukraine.
The CEO and founder of TRON expressed his disappointment with Ukraine for "unfairly" handling the donation campaign. Justin Sun complained that the government did not include the TRX network in the airdrop initiative. In fact, the airdrop snapshot only includes Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. Also here the opinions of the users were polarized: on one side those who attacked Sun for exploiting the situation, on the other side those who support the Tron community and its interests despite the sensitive issues.
The founder of the Kraken exchange immediately stated that he is absolutely against the EU's desire to impose the closure of Russian citizens' accounts within cryptocurrency exchange platforms. One tweet in particular caused a stir because, in addition to reiterating his position against the "ban" of Russian users from exchanges, Powell points to the US as the main protagonist in the occasions of invasion of a democratic nation.