Ilya Polosukhin, a Ukrainian-born crypto entrepreneur and co-founder of the Near Protocol, explains how cryptocurrencies have become an invaluable tool in supporting Ukraine’s resistance.
“Cryptocurrency has become the biggest engine of humanitarian aid as well as some military aid to Ukraine,” said Ilya Polosukhin, co-founder of Near Protocol.
Polosukhin, who was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine, has been at the forefront of a cryptocurrency boosting effort aimed at helping Ukraine against the Russian advance.
Immediately after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, Polosukhin and other Ukrainian crypto entrepreneurs founded the Unchain Fund, which has raised nearly $7 million in cryptocurrency donations to date. It’s just one of several crypto funds currently supporting the government of Ukraine, raising a total of over $100 million in just a few weeks.
As Polosukhin noted, the infinity and speed of cryptocurrencies proved extremely valuable in this emergency.
“You can set up a complete system, an NGO system, in a few days. Instead of [those] months it would take to set up a new non-profit organization, open bank accounts, maintain the whole legal structure and make sure people can easily transfer money there,” explained Polosukhin.
Once received by the Unchain Fund, cryptocurrency donations will be converted into local fiat currency through local cryptocurrency exchanges that are still active in the country.
Once the cryptocurrency is converted to fiat, the Unchain Fund volunteers in Ukraine will buy the necessary goods and distribute them to civilians who are stuck in the conflict zone or who have been forced to leave their homes.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law creating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the country. Polosukhin believes that the crisis has demonstrated the usefulness of cryptocurrencies in an emergency and will lead to an acceleration of cryptocurrency adoption in Ukraine.
“I think cryptocurrency will be a huge engine for Ukraine’s future development,” he said.
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