Plus: Prophecies of digital cash, Russia’s virtual isolation, and bleak conditions for black tie.
Sergey Vasylchuk knew trouble was afoot when Russian troops began gathering at the border. People assured him the massed armies were only a feint, but the CEO of Everstake, a Ukraine-based blockchain company, didn’t believe it. “I’m paranoid; I’m an engineer,” he says. He begged his employees to leave the country—Call it a vacation if you like, he told them, promising to pay for a retreat to a foreign sunny climate. Not everyone took the offer. Vasylchuk himself already had plans to travel to Florida to attend flight school, a passion of his. When the invasion came–two days after he arrived in the US–he worked from his stateside outpost to make sure his parents, who are still in Ukraine, were safe, and he did what he could for his employees. Some are now fighting the Russians. “My home is probably destroyed,” he says. He’s in South Florida indefinitely—not partying with fellow blockchain bros, but working “24/7,” he says, to help his country. With crypto.
“I can do only two things in my life—crypto and aviation,” he says.
He chose the former, determining that the best way to serve his country was to supply it with funds via digital currencies. Not long after the invasion, he set up a DAO. That’s a decentralized autonomous organization, an entity whose trustworthiness can be verified by the reliable blockchain ledger. Vasylchuk partnered with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and a currency exchange called FTX to set up a system for the government to accept crypto currency directly from donors. So far the fund has taken in more than $65 million, which has been distributed between the country’s defense efforts and humanitarian aid. The effort is one of several using blockchain-based technologies to help Ukraine and its people during these nightmare weeks. Some have even dubbed this conflict the Crypto War.
…Both Vasylchuk and Polosukhin, who is currently running his company from Lisbon, think that crypto will be essential in restoring their battered homeland.
“We need to stop the war and rebuild this country,” says Polusukhn. “The crypto world will play a huge part in that—there are no banks in some places anymore!”
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- Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.