“Crypto became the largest driver for humanitarian help as well as some of military help for Ukraine,” said Illia Polosukhin, the co-founder of Near Protocol.
Polosukhin, who was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine, has been at the forefront of the crypto fundraising efforts aimed at supporting Ukraine against Russia’s offensive.
Right after Russia's attack on Ukraine started on February 24, Polosukhin and other Ukrainian crypto entrepreneurs created the Unchain Fund, which to date has gathered nearly $7 million in crypto donations. That is only one of the several crypto funds that are currently supporting the Ukrainian government, raising a total of over $100 million in just a few weeks.
As pointed out by Polosukhin, the borderless nature and speed of cryptocurrencies turned out to be extremely valuable in this emergency situation.
“You can create a full system, an NGO system in days. Instead of [the] months it would take to create a new nonprofit, set up banks accounts, get all the legal structure, make sure that people can wire money to it without problems,” explained Polosukhin.
After reaching the Unchain Fund, crypto donations are converted into local fiat through local cryptocurrency exchanges still active within the country.
Once crypto is converted into fiat, Unchain Fund's volunteers on the ground in Ukraine are purchasing the necessary goods and distributing them among civilians who are stuck in the conflict zone or were forced to flee their homes.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s President Volodimir Zelesnksy signed a law that established a regulatory frame for cryptocurrency in the country. Polosukhin believes the crisis showcased the utility of crypto in an emergency situation and will result in a boost of crypto adoption in Ukraine.
“I think crypto will become a huge engine for future development of Ukraine,” he said.