It’s getting to be a status thing.
This weekend, the official Twitter account of the government of Ukraine tweeted out a bitcoin address and one Ethereum, too, and asked for donations to support the nation’s defense against Russia.
Subsequently, blockchain scions like Polkadot’s Gavin Wood and Tron’s Justin Sun petitioned government officials to accept their chain’s respective native tokens. Likewise, fans of other layer-1 blockchains also started urging the government to open additional wallets.
The tweet was an historic moment for cryptocurrency. A sovereign nation showed that the censorship resistance of blockchain technologies is valuable to a government in crisis. Various news organizations have confirmed that these wallets are legitimate.
Bitcoin and Ethereum
As of Tuesday afternoon, $31.7M has been donated on the two leading blockchains, according to data from Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company. The funds it is tracking have gone both to the nation of Ukraine and Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian non-governmental organization that supports the military.
According to a page set up by Coin Center Executive Director Jerry Brito, $8.8M in BTC and $7.6M in ETH have been donated to the government as of Tuesday afternoon in New York.
Only one other blockchain had been added at the time: Tron, the number two blockchain supporting Tether’s USDT stablecoin, after Ethereum.
In a tweet from Mykhailo Fedorov, a Ukrainian vice-prime minister, the country also released a Tron address for USDT donations. Tron Founder Justin Sun, who began a diplomatic career recently when he became a representative to the World Trade Organization for the nation of Grenada, quickly jumped into the discussion and asked that Ukraine accept Tron’s native token TRX in addition to USDT.
Tron and Polkadot
On Tuesday, the official Tron account tweeted that $1.2M in USDC has gone to the people of Ukraine from Tron, including $200K that Sun donated personally. A spokesperson for Tron noted that some donations in its native coin, TRX, have also been made and that Ukraine has been withdrawing those funds as well.
On Sunday, Gavin Wood, the creator of the Polkadot and Kusama blockchains, tweeted that he would donate $5M if the country posted a Polkadot address.
On March 1, Ukraine’s Twitter account tweeted a new address, promising to post donation addresses for more blockchains soon.
On Tuesday, Uniswap said that it built an interface that swaps any token for ETH and then sends it directly to the Ukrainian government in a single transaction.
1/ To ensure that everyone who wants to donate ERC-20 tokens to the Ukrainian government 🇺🇦 can do so, we built an interface that swaps any token for ETH and then sends it directly to the Ukrainian government in a single transaction.https://t.co/3zuJLpmWNQ https://t.co/Fg3HSdbNSF— Uniswap Labs 🦄 (@Uniswap) March 1, 2022
Of course, most people who hold any of these cryptocurrencies could simply pull them onto an exchange, swap them for BTC, ETH or USDT, and then withdraw those funds to the appropriate Ukrainian address. But it appears that blockchain communities see value in Ukraine soliciting donations directly on their chains and accepting their native coins.
The Tron Foundation and Parity Technologies were not immediately available for additional comment.
Independent investor and commentator Tuur Demeester told The Defiant via direct message, “It’s anyone’s right to promote their own company, but if you already have issued a token of questionable legitimacy, and you then additionally, during the first week of a terrifying military invasion of Ukraine, try to hustle prominent Ukrainians for promoting that token of yours, well… I don’t find that particularly tasteful.”