04 March 2022 |
Crypto’s Role in Russia-Ukraine War
By Nicole Casperson
Russian people are turning to cryptocurrency to salvage their financial wellbeing as the invasion in Ukraine continues and Russia’s financial sanctions are causing the economy to crash – including the value of its currency, the Russian Ruble.
Investors are getting out of the Ruble and into crypto – specifically Tether which is pegged to the US dollar. This is further proving crypto has real value in helping people when traditional financial systems fall.
It’s not just Russia relying on crypto. The Ukrainian government has already raised over $50 million in crypto donations and is using it to buy supplies like gas and food and to support its military defense against Russia.
Toronto-based fintech Wealthsimple even said it is waiving transaction and gas fees for users donating Bitcoin or Ethereum to Ukraine. It’s incredible to see so many come together to help the people of Ukraine, but crypto exchanges are in a tough spot.
Financial sanctions don’t apply to crypto exchanges, but the Ukrainian government asked Coinbase, Binance, Huobi, KuCoin, Bybit, Gate.io, Whitebit, and Kuna to halt support for the Russian ruble, ruble spot pairs, and fiat getaways, including Russian payment systems.
Yulia Parkhomenko, Head of the Department of Development and Financial Monitoring of the Virtual Assets Market, told Descrypt that “it’s crucial to block not only the addresses of crypto wallets linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage all Russian customers in order to prevent evading sanctions.”
This would severely set back Russians that are also negatively impacted by this war and are looking to crypto as a safe haven. The crypto exchanges have agreed, saying that cutting off Russian citizens would punish ordinary people that are also hurt by their government’s aggression.
This is a true test of crypto’s impact on the world during extreme world and economic crises.
Other fintech companies and users have stepped in to donate as well. For example, Revolut customers around the world have donated more than $1M to support the victims in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, wealth tech Riskalyze, which has no employees in Ukraine but an office in Poland, is aiding its employees and family members in the region by raising a $25,000 donation.
The money will help fund six months of an apartment and food support to a Polish Riskalyze employee’s family in Ukraine during their displacement, providing potential airfare support for refugees in Romania to come to America, and even providing support for those in opposition to the Putin regime to flee Russia and settle somewhere safely.
According to Riskalyze, the donation collection was made possible thanks to the inspirational actions of people like Riskalyze’s Poland GM Łukasz Koszela who has handled the coordination of funding meant to supplement the loss of income and security faced by members of the greater Riskalyze family.