Blockchain Teams in Ukraine Struggle and Galvanize as Russia Invades Their Country

UkraineBlockchainTeamsStruggle

Crypto has always been global, but the crisis created by Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine this week has dramatized just how global it has truly become.

Many distributed crypto teams have members in Ukraine, and many others with connections to the country have started providing support to people facing the conflict there. It’s difficult to get information right now about the teams with staff in Ukraine, and many of those that remain, of course, are not in a position to communicate actively with the media now.

This is a developing story and The Defiant will continue to update it as the picture comes clearer. But we know that this is a situation that people in crypto have connected with.

Community Members

“Today one of Orca’s core community members had to take a step back due to his position within the military,” Julia Rosenberg, a co-founder of Orca Protocol, a governance platform for crypto projects, tweeted Thursday. “As DAOs enable more global cooperation, they make the world smaller. We are no longer so far removed from the faces of foreign strife.”

One crypto project has had to put itself on hold while its Ukrainian members get out of harm’s way. Heroes of Mavia is a blockchain-based, fantasy armies game from Skrice Studios. It had an NFT mint scheduled, but announced today that it will delay the mint one week, till March 4, because it needs its staff in Ukraine to be available.

In a message on the announcements channel in its Discord server, the team explained the delay as caused by the invasion. “Our Ukrainian team members are essential to the launch and must be present for the mint,” one co-founder, going by the handle Selenium wrote. “Extremely volatile market conditions and uncertainty from the invasion will put a damper on the effectiveness of our launch. We want the mint to be a great success, and do not want to launch the day after a crisis like this is unfolding.”

Build Support

Other members of the blockchain industry have a plan to use NFTs to build support for people in Ukraine.

Illia Polusokhin is a co-founder of the fast blockchain, Near, has family in Ukraine. He told The Defiant that he’s working to help coordinate safe evacuations from the country. He also directed us to Unchain Fund, a new DAO from blockchain activists concerned about the situation. Right now, it’s organizers are coordinating in Telegram, discussing how to use the transparency of the blockchain to give supporters assurance that their contributions will be used to help people.

To enhance the donations, the group is talking about releasing a series of NFTs where artists offer interpretations on links on a chain. None of these NFTs have been minted yet, but over $10,000 in stablecoins have already come in via its Ethereum address. The address is governed by a multisig controlled by members of the crypto community in or connected to Ukraine, such as executives at the payments company, Weld,  the exchange, Kuna, Near and others.



One of the organizers of the Unchain Fund is Rev Miller, a co-founder of Atlantis World, the metaverse project that has been connecting decentralized finance teams. He told The Defiant that he normally lives in Ukraine, but happened to be out of the country with his family as the invasion hit.

Miller posted in the Telegram group. “We couldn’t stand still and watch this chaos,” he wrote in a post. “Web3 folks have the power to make the difference.”

It still seems to be early in the effort. Others in the group are asking about the plans to use the funds, and there aren’t specific answers on that now, other than to say the funds won’t be used to buy weapons.

Raise Funds

Other members of the crypto world have been showing up. For example, a member of the PoolTogether DAO, Andy Kaufman, suggested that users of their lossless lottery could designate Unchain Fund as the place for winnings to go if they won the interest on a pool one day.

The v4 of PoolTogether “allows you to delegate your win chances to any wallet,” he said over Telegram.

The chief counsel of 1inch, the decentralized exchange aggregator, showed up to offer support. Others have pitched in to get out marketing materials and set up the website.

“Financial  system is cracking under stress,” Polushkin said over email. “Crypto is indeed something that can both  help to raise funds and can help people to pay even when central banks  and services are under DDOS or failure due to their limitations.”

yyctrader contributed reporting to this story.

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