Bitcoin in Ukraine in the Times of Peril

In this article, I will not cover the details of the situation and provide opinion. Instead, I want to concentrate on the people who are trying to make a difference by providing food and medical treatment.

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Bitcoin in Ukraine in the Times of Peril

Following the events that happened and are still happening in Ukraine a network of volunteers was organized to help the victims of the on-going revolution using cryptocurrencies as means of accepting donations.

In this article, I will not cover the details of the situation and provide opinion. Instead, I want to concentrate on the people who are trying to make a difference by providing food and medical treatment.

The campaign

The initiative is being coordinated  by Nastasia Pustova, who have a vast experience of work in advertisement. Nastasia knows how to attract people attention and manage human resource, using her skills to organize the work of activists.

The closed group of 900 volunteers started its work on the February 2nd and since then, most of the waking hours Nastasia spends in front of the screen making arrangements and giving away tasks.

The idea to involve Bitcoin unexpectedly came from Beijing, a bitcoin enthusiast and entrepreneur, Jake Smith contacted Nastasia and offered her to implement cryptocurrencies into their campaign, which was very helpful considering the difficulties involving movement of money into the country.

Financial roadblocks

We at CoinTelegraph here have already covered the policy of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) on all digital currencies. Summarizing – you have to register with NBU to work with cryptos, making illegal any bitcoin business without the right paper.

However, as the fires burn I highly doubt that Ukraine regulators have time to watch over a few digital coin exchanges, which are not exactly what one would call widespread.

The use of Bitcoin to channel money for resources, used by volunteers, is even more of necessity as there are problems sending money into the country via PayPal and international bank transfers. Latter use up time that people there don’t have, the former puts Ukraine on the list of countries that could not receive money.

However, Bitcoin is not the panacea as cryptocurrency conversion into hryvnia (national currency) is quite a pain. The only big exchange available to Ukraine’s residents is BTC-e. Other than that - good old Face-to-Face exchanges.

The 20% drop of hryvnia doesn’t help the already volatile nature of BTC either.

Help report

On the Reddit Nastasia Pustova (or someone claiming to be her) posted the report on what their network spent the donated money. The full list of good deeds is not presented but hot food for field hospitals, medicine, clothes, shoes and even two electro generators (blackouts during surgeries are not fun).

There is also a “personal story” told by Nastasia:

“Yesterday, on one of the far-away posts we found a guy with serious kidney problems (after sleeping on the floor in a tent on frosty nights). He refused to go to hospital because he has no relatives in Kyiv and there's no one to take care of him (here hospitals are not like in normal counties - nobody does a thing if you don't bribe nurses and doctors personally and pay for all the medical supplies for yourself). We convinced him to go to the hospital with us, now we send 2-3 people everyday to visit him and bring him what he needs. He had his birthday yesterday, and he wasn't alone.”

To strengthen the evidence of work, she also provided some photos, but everything mentioned “is  just maybe 5% of what we did sinse 20.02.”  - adds Natalia.

Light of hope

I don’t even begin to pretend that I know who is right or wrong in the conflict. However, there is one thing that I know for sure. Whenever there is an event, resembling of what is happening on Ukraine there would be victims that need help. With or without the Bitcoin.

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