Have you heard the story of a young Ukrainian who escapes war with a USB stick holding 40% of his savings in crypto? This case demonstrates that crypto offers a solution for many people in extreme situations. By overcoming slow inefficiencies and bureaucracies related to typical fiat currencies, especially when it comes to crossing borders, crypto gives individuals the ability to keep their money safe when fleeing danger. This has been the case particularly for people fleeing Ukraine.
Since the full-scale Russian invasion, approximately a quarter of Ukraine’s population (15 million people) were forced from their homes, according to UNCHR reports. In this article, we share a story on how a young Ukrainian, having savings in crypto, escapes the danger with the means to support himself and his girlfriend.
Escape for Crypto
On February 24th, the morning Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a 20-year-old man with the pseudonym Fadey checked the news and made the decision to leave the country. There was a narrow window of opportunity to leave before all men aged 18-60 were forbidden from doing so. He needed to get two things – a negative COVID test (a requirement quickly dropped) and money.
That morning, ATMs had big queues, were running out of cash, and those who did have money gave out only $33 per transaction. Withdrawing, therefore, was not an option. Instead, a young man did a P2P transaction, which allowed him to have cash on the other side of the border. In addition to this, he transferred $2000 worth of crypto to a USB key, with his seed phrase written down separately on a piece of paper. This allowed him to keep his money safe, but also to take it with him so he could access his funds anywhere.
The simplicity and quickness of such cryptocurrency transactions were crucial. Two hours after Fadey arrived safely in Poland, Ukraine shut its borders to all men of combat age.
His experience highlights some of the most important characteristics of crypto:
- It’s a viable currency across borders
- It requires no bank
- It is tethered to its owner by a password, making it a lot harder to steal than cash.
Later on, Ukrainian banks placed restrictions on withdrawals outside of the country, so this was an invaluable way to have cash.
Many Ukrainians fled to EU countries and acquired protection there, but they encountered difficulties establishing bank accounts. This is due to the banks’ complex bureaucratic processes, unrealistic requirements, and long waiting times. This obstacle was tied to the fact that it was impossible to send money from Ukraine, meaning people could not get money sent by friends or family still in Ukraine, which meant that accessing funds was extremely difficult. Yet for those with crypto, there was a way to get their money.
The use of crypto is clearly beneficial in this case. But this is not the only way crypto has already helped Ukrainians in the Russian war against Ukraine.
Crypto donations to Ukraine
Since February 2022, a lot of big foundations in Ukraine started accepting donations in cryptocurrency. This is because crypto overcame difficulties regarding fiat, such as the unstable local currency, rules, regulations, and the general speed of international transfers.
On the government website Come back alive you can donate in BTC, ETH, USDT, and SOL to support Ukrainian army. A famous Sergiy Prytula foundation, which has recently bought 4 Bayraktars and the whole satellite, accepts donations in BTC, ETH, and USDT. A big amount of small organizations and individuals who are volunteering also accept crypto donations these days.
We all see how superior is crypto when talking about the war, refugees, donations, etc. But how exactly is crypto better than other types of payments? What makes it so superior?
- Crypto overcomes slowness
International transfers can be slow, especially to countries that are seen by banks as unstable or risky due to the number of checks. Banking processes, even through mobile apps, are much slower than crypto.
- Crypto overcomes bureaucracy
Many banks require a lot of paperwork to establish accounts and to transfer money internationally. This paperwork is not only slow, which is far from ideal in urgent circumstances, but those people who have left their homes urgently may, understandably, be missing the required documents. Or they do not fully understand what is required due to language and cultural barriers.
- Crypto overcomes exchange rates and other fees
Banks, and even online services that transfer currencies, have unfavorable rates and normally charge fees for international transfers. Crypto offers better transfer rates, which are clear to the buyers and sellers, and any fees are the same no matter where in the world the transaction takes place.
- Crypto is safer than cash
Physical cash can be easily stolen or lost, especially for those fleeing danger. Even a bank card can be stolen and utilized through contactless payments. Crypto wallets have considerably higher security and are harder for someone to access (so long as the owner practices common sense security measures).
Crypto has shown itself as a perfect tool for typical and non-typical situations. The CEO of BitcoinWide says:
”This situation proves that crypto provides humanity with real freedom, backed by decentralization, mathematics, and algorithms. It is an evolution of money that eliminates intermediaries, boundaries, and delays, all of which are crucial in a fast-changing world and particularly during crises. Ukraine has fast adopted cryptocurrency and we expected to see more countries do so because crypto is the future.
We at BitcoinWide are helping find places that accept crypto payments, as we want to make it easier for people to trade, earn, and generally utilize cryptocurrency no matter where they are”.