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Crypto News, March 2: Ukraine Donations Surge

5mo ago

In other developments, experts cast doubt on whether crypto will be widely used to evade sanctions — as Animoca Brands announces it's pulling out of Russia.

Crypto News, March 2: Ukraine Donations Surge

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Today's headlines

Ukraine crypto donations continue to surge

More than $30 million worth of crypto has now been donated to Ukraine. The country is planning to airdrop a reward to those who make a contribution before 6pm Kyiv time on Thursday. Michael Chobanian, the founder of a local exchange, says close to half of the funds donated have already been dispersed. Some is being used to supply civilians with food, gas and medicine, while another wallet is providing funding for the army. Support for new cryptocurrencies is regularly being added. Polkadot founder Gavin Wood pledged $5 million after Ukraine opened an official wallet for DOT donations.

Russia 'can't and won't' use crypto to dodge sanctions

Fears that Russia will use crypto to sidestep the West's economic sanctions are "totally unfounded," according to Jake Chervinsky. The Blockchain Association lawyer argues "crypto markets are too small, costly and transparent to be useful for the Russian economy." And in a Twitter thread, he said digital assets would be "useless" for evading sanctions because of how transactions can be tracked on the blockchain. Other experts have warned Russia "cannot use crypto to replace the hundreds of billions of dollars that could be potentially blocked or frozen."

Blockchain gaming giant cuts ties to Russia

Animoca Brands has become one of the first crypto firms to stop serving all customers in Russia. Major crypto exchanges are refusing to enact a blanket ban unless legally required to do so — but they are restricting access to sanctioned individuals and companies. Animoca, whose projects include decentralized virtual world The Sandbox, uses intellectual property from the likes of Disney and Formula 1. Disney has announced that it will not be releasing films in Russia while the war in Ukraine continues, while Formula 1 says it is "impossible" for September's Grand Prix in Sochi to go ahead.

Demand for crypto hits all-time high in Ukraine

Ukrainians are "buying crypto like never before," according to Arcane Research. Analysts say the surge in trading volumes is driven by fears the country's banking system could collapse. With banks closed and ATM withdrawals restricted, crypto is also allowing refugees to "bring some of their wealth with them" as they flee the country. Trading volumes in Russia have also spiked following a collapse in the value of the ruble. "Investors are speculating that crypto will become increasingly important as apolitical and trustless money in a time of escalating geopolitical uncertainty, conflict, and capital controls," Arcane Research said.

Floki Inu ads banned in the U.K.

Adverts for Floki Inu have been banned in the U.K. Billboards for the memecoin has been plastered on trains and buses in London, and said: "MISSED DOGE? GET FLOKI." The Advertising Standards Authority has now said these ads must not appear again in their current form because they "exploited consumers' fears of missing out and trivialized investment in cryptocurrency." Despite its aggressive advertising strategy, CoinMarketCap data shows FLOKI is only ranked #2861 in the list of the world's biggest cryptocurrencies. The altcoin's value had plunged by an eye-watering 84% over the past four months.

Samsom Mow exits Blockstream

A senior Blockstream executive has announced he's leaving the company "to focus on nation-state Bitcoin adoption." Chief strategy officer Samson Mow tweeted: "With everything happening at light speed in El Salvador, and more and more countries interested in adopting Bitcoin, I found my time each day just no longer enough anymore." His departure will spark discussion about which countries, if any, plan to follow in El Salvador's footsteps by adopting BTC as legal tender. Mow was the architect of the Bitcoin Bond, which was designed to raise $1 billion so the country could further increase its exposure to BTC and build infrastructure to mine cryptocurrencies using volcanic energy.
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