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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The World’s First Crypto War

The cryptocurrency market is worth $2 trillion. That's nearly four times the value of Facebook.

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The Ukraine government raised donation worth more than $60 million in cryptocurrency to assist in the fight against Russia. Ukraine’s crypto donations have surged in the past few days.

Crypto donations are being sent to the official crypto addresses, as well as to non-governmental organizations like Come Back Alive. UkraineDAO, was also set up last week to raise funds for the war-torn nation.

Some are calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the world’s first crypto war. Here’s why. On one hand, Ukrainians have raised tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to assist in the fighting. On the other, Washington is trying to stop Russia from using crypto to bypass Western sanctions.

Crypto has attracted the likes of techno optimists, criminals and oligarchs. The cryptocurrency market is worth $2 trillion. That’s nearly four times the value of Facebook. Its appeal? It’s exchanged anonymously and outside the reach of the global banking sector. Now it’s being used as a tool of modern warfare. – Bobby Allyn, Technology Reporter, NPR.

Timothy Spangler is a lawyer who specializes in digital currencies. He says since tough Western sanctions were imposed on Russia, all eyes have turned to cryptocurrency. That’s because it operates on blockchain technology, a shared public database not overseen by banks.

Blockchain technology gives the Russians the very ability that the Biden administration should be concerned about – the ability to transact directly. – Spangler

The Biden administration and European officials say they are dialing up surveillance of blockchains to try to catch any activity from people connected to the Kremlin. Ukrainian officials have asked crypto exchanges to freeze all Russian accounts. The companies agreed to enforce a blacklist. But they are refusing to ban all Russian accounts, saying that would undermine the crypto community’s libertarian ethos. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for the Kremlin.

Humanitarian implications of this are massive, said Alex Gladstein Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation. He further added that it’s the everyday citizens caught in the middle of the war who might actually benefit the most from established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, since it can be transmitted instantly and without a local bank account or even an ID.

War, however it’s waged, hurts the average person more than it hurts the elites. Now we have a technology that benefits everybody equally. And it’s inspiring to see that people now have this, like, backup plan – Gladstein said.


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Note : The article is originally published in npr.org, visit the original source to read the entire article

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