Ukraine Buys Military Gear With Donated Cryptocurrencies

Bloomberg — Ukraine already used $15 million of cryptocurrency donations for military supplies. These included the bulletproof vests it was given Friday. Bornyakov stated this in Zoom interviews from an unnamed Ukrainian location. The vast majority of these donations came in Bitcoin and Ether.

Bornyakov stated that the 250-member ministry was able to locate suppliers in Europe as well as the U.S. within just two days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Around 40% of suppliers will accept crypto. He said that the rest of them are usually paid in crypto, which can be converted to dollars and euros.
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While many companies and crypto startup founders have donated money, “most donations come from people,” Bornyakov said, while noting that air-raid sirens occasionally require him to run into a bomb shelter.

According to him, the ministry received Tether and Polkadot donations as well as Solana. The ministry also received hundreds upon hundreds of NFTs including one valuable CryptoPunk.

The ministry was formed two years ago, and was working to develop Ukraine’s information-technology services industry, provide high-speed internet access throughout the country and to move all government services online. Most of the ministry’s team is under 35 years old, and most are working remotely, from inside or outside the country, Bornyakov said. Bornyakov, who studied public administration at Columbia University, New York, before joining the ministry, also co-founded several startup companies, such as an ad technology provider and a fund for investment in startups.

The ministry’s team has now refocused on supporting the country’s digital infrastructure as it’s being attacked, making sure the government’s work is not interrupted, Bornyakov said. It also collects and uses cryptocurrency donations.

Bornyakov stated that the ministry has been working with two companies to design an NFT collection. It could be completed in two weeks and raise money for the Ukrainian war effort. It’s still up in the air if the edition will be limited, and what the NFTs will look like.

“No one was ready to do military NFTs, the war just started eight days ago, they are still trying to figure out how to do this in terms of design,” he said.

It is not planned to sell the ministry’s donated CryptoPunk #5364. This picture shows a man wearing a blue bandanna and smoking cigarettes. A CryptoPunk that was last sold one year ago, for approximately 16.2 Ethers and was worth more than $43,000 today. The prices of CryptoPunks has increased significantly in the past year.

“Yes, someone donated us a CryptoPunk, but it’s so hard to sell, we haven’t used it at this point,” Bornyakov said. “We are going to keep it for now. Every support we receive is appreciated. What’s important is people’s awareness. They see what’s going on, and they are trying to help. NFTs are something we will work on later. For now, our focus is on what we can do right away. There’s no time to figure out how to convert them. Maybe once things settle down we’ll figure this out.”

(Additional paragraph: NFT prices surge in the last paragraph.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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