Known for philanthropic activity, including a $1 million donation to Wikipedia, Durov has donated 10 bitcoins (BTC) to a charity project in Russia. The coins are worth around $96,000 at time of publication.
Donation will help people facing financial difficulties due to coronavirus
The new donation intends to support a project backed by political activist, Yegor Zhukov — who established himself as a symbol of anti-Kremlin protests. The donated Bitcoin will be spent to help people facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, including distributing free food packages, Zhukov’s team announced on Instagram on May 28.
Dubbed “Mutual Aid,” the Zhukov’s team-led project was launched in early April and has reportedly provided support to almost 3,000 people to date. The project was initiated in response to the coronavirus-fueled crisis, aiming to bring people together to help each other independently from the government.
Durov uses public Bitcoin address for donation
A spokesperson for the project told Cointelegraph that Durov reached out to Zhukov on Telegram before making the donation. The person said that Durov expressed his willingness to support the project.
According to the representative, Telegram CEO completed the donation in a series of five transactions on May 24 and May 25. Durov used the Bitcoin address set aside for general donations by the project, the person said. As of press time, the address holds 12.7 BTC, or about $120,000, according to public data from Blockchain.com.
“Main goal of both crypto and Telegram is independence from the government”
The donation comes amid years of legal uncertainty toward cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in Russia. While Russia has not yet adopted any crypto-related laws, the government is now considering fines and prison terms of up to 7 years for illegal issuance and use of crypto. Alongside crypto uncertainty, Russia is also facing disagreement over lifting the Telegram ban in the country. In the meantime, both Telegram and crypto continue operating in Russia.
Addressing the issue, Zhukov emphasized that Telegram and crypto basically share the same objectives. Particularly, they are designed to bring freedom from the government and cannot be regulated, Zhukov told Cointelegraph. Expressing gratitude to Durov’s support, Zhukov said:
“The main purpose of both crypto and Telegram is independence from the government. Thus, neither of the two should basically be regulated.”
By expressing his libertarian stance, Zhukov echoed some words of Durov. “In the 21st century, the best legislative initiative is the absence of one,” Durov argued in a manifesto published in Russian publication Afisha back in 2012.