UkraineDAO Showed Power of Web3 in War Zone
Founder Alona Tapped DeFi to Aid Embattled Ukrainians
By: Samuel HaigDeFi 2022
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February crypto culture may have been the last thing on the minds of a horrified population. Lines of communication and supply routes were broken. Families rushed to get news of loved ones left behind in Kyiv and eastern Ukraine.
Yet in the foggy chaos that followed, web3 technologies proved to be a valuable tool for Ukrainians as they struggled to cope with the bombardment directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his generals.
Into the Breach
In quick order, decentralized autonomous organizations rushed into the breach by forming teams to disseminate information about the rapidly shifting battlefield and provide crucial financial support to Ukrainian civilians.
On Feb. 25, Near Protocol co-founder Illia Poloshukhin and other blockchain advocates launched Unchain Fund. Launched on AstroDAO, a Near-based platform for creating DAOs, it went on to raise $1.8M in five days to fund humanitarian aid efforts for Ukrainians.
The same day, The Defiant reported that a decentralized collective called UkraineDAO had attracted thousands of members and was organizing an NFT drop to raise funds to support Ukraine.
The mint raised 2,258 ETH worth $7M over five days that was distributed to non-profits working on the ground, including Come Back Alive, a foundation providing equipment and training to Ukraine’s military that has raised $130M.
The Defiant spoke to Alona Shevchenko, a UkraineDAO’s co-founder. Alona is a Ukrainian living in the United Kingdom and was an active member of FreeRossDAO. Alona was working to help health organizations supporting Ukrainians that require complex medical care and medication, such as Type 1 Diabetes.
She said that UkraineDAO spontaneously grew from discussions she had with FreeRossDAO and PleasrDAO.
UkraineDAO Raises $7M and Builds Global Network of Supporters, Says Co-Founder Alona
Alona, a co-founder of UkraineDAO, told The Defiant the group is rapidly building a global network of supporters for the embattled nation.The Defiant
Alona became concerned after speaking with a friend living in Ukraine, later penning an open letter warning of military build-up that was published to FreeRossDAO’s blog on Feb. 21. Alona had also met members of PleasrDAO while attending anti-Russian protests in London on Feb. 16, with UkraineDAO forming a group call between herself and the two DAOs shortly after.
Alona Shevchenko, co-founder UkraineDAO
In March, UkraineDAO donated $4m to Come Back Alive. The contribution is the single-largest donation received by the organization.
In April, Alona mobilized eight vehicles from her parents’ trucking business to distribute humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including food from the UN World Food Programme. Trucks embossed with UkraineDAO’s continued transporting supplies into the country today, with Alona telling The Defiant the fleet spans roughly 30 vehicles.
In June, UkraineDAO began working with the Starling Lab, an academic research organization, and Hala Systems, a Hedera-based company using distributed ledger technology to immutably record evidence of war crimes and human rights violations. Files documenting atrocities in Ukraine were submitted to the International Criminal Court, marking the first time the ICC has accepted evidence stored on a blockchain.
‘This process establishes the provenance of the data and allows prosecutors to prove it has not been tampered with from the field to the courtroom.’
“This process establishes the provenance of the data and allows prosecutors to prove it has not been tampered with from the field to the courtroom,” wrote the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation. The foundation worked with Starling lab to store its Holocaust archive, a trove of 56,000 audio-visual testimonies reporting crimes committed during Nazi Germany’s extermination of 6M Jews during World War II, using blockchain technology.
In September, UkraineDAO co-organized the Kyiv Tech Summit Hackathon in partnership with Unchain Fund and the Ukraine Ministry of Digital Transformation.
The hackathon was hosted in a bomb shelter and hosted speeches from Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and the Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder and chief scientist, also attended the event.
Buterin discussed UkraineDAO in an article exploring use-cases defending DAOs as vehicles for censorship resistance, decentralized decision-making, and “nation-state-like functions like basic infrastructure provision” a few weeks later.
“An important part of this story is that Ethereum gave an opportunity to create a platform for Ukrainians who were not heard for decades,” Alona tweeted in September.
Blockchain Teams in Ukraine Struggle and Galvanize as Russia Invades Their Country
Blockchain development teams in Ukraine are struggling to stay safe and complete their projects.The Defiant
At the end of the month, Alona teamed up with another group of activists to launch IranDAO — a decentralized collective working to support and raise awareness for the plight of Iranian women amid the ongoing country’s ongoing protests and government repression.
In November, UkraineDAO became the first DAO in the world to receive formal support from a nation-state when the nation’s Ministry of Digital Transformation endorsed its operations.