The epicenter of the latest attempt to raise money to support Ukraine was a bare-bones office above a bakery in the north of London.
Isaac Kamlish was joined by Nathan Cohen and Isaac Bentata, aged 23-25. They met with their laptops earlier this week and announced the first sale for one-of a kind digital items at a national government.
Kyiv made use of technology developed by the trio to sell more than 1,200 tokens that are not fungible (or NFTs) in just 24 hours. It raised about $600,000.
The auction, which made the use of blockchain technology to act as a lever of wartime financing, underscores how the Ukrainian government is using both new and traditional tools to raise the money it needs to survive the current crisis.
NFT is backed by PussyRit member raises $6.7M for Ukraine
The other playbook is traditional. Kyiv has earned around $1 billion from the sale of war bonds in Ukraine to individuals and institutions. This is a signal that residents are open to loaning money to the government, even if they aren’t able to receive their money back.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration has been encouraging potential donors across the globe to make direct transfers of crypto, an effort that’s generated more than $56 million according to analytics group Chainalysis. The NFT sale held on Wednesday witnessed collectors from all over world, from Los Angeles and Barcelona, hurry to be part of what they saw to be an important moment for Ukraine and the crypto community.
“The Ukraine war is devastating, and it will be in the history books,” said Ben Jacobs, the co-founder of Scenius Capital. a digital asset investment firm. “This use of crypto technology is also historic in its own right.”
Jacobs is an California resident, bought two NFTs for $1100, including small fees. The government of Ukraine received around $1,000 in ether. This is the cryptocurrency that is used to make NFTs.
A fundraising rush
There have been people throughout Europe, the United States, and elsewhere to show their support for Ukraine. They’ve hung blue and yellow flags on their buildings, held local events, changed their avatars online and expressed their solidarity through social media.
But Zelensky’s team needs more than just gestures and words. Kyiv is in need of money to run its government and arm its military. It has estimated that conflict may cost Ukraine $565 billion. Its economic output in 2020 was $155 billion.
“Our fiscal deficit is greater than we had anticipated at the beginning of this year,” Yuriy Butsa from Ukraine who is the commissioner for public debt management, told CNN Business. This refers to the gap between government revenue and expenditure.
In the five weeks since Russia invaded, the government has made an unprecedented effort to raise money worldwide.
Viktor Szabo a fund manager at Abrdn (UK-based) said that these guys are creative.
A man wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag uses a smartphone in Barcelona on the 14th of March. 1.
Kyiv has turned to tried and reliable methods to raise funds. Ukraine has received emergency funds of $4 billion from multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or World Bank. A further $2 billion is currently being discussed.
The company is also using traditional war bonds, which governments issue in times of conflict to tap support from citizens. They can be useful to combat inflation as they keep cash out circulation during times of usually an insufficiency.
Five local currency bonds to Ukraine in March brought in around $1 billion. Butsa claimed that there was an enormous demand, both from institutions as well as individuals. The government holds the funds and uses them to pay for expenses such as pensions and emergency services.
Butsa said that there are many people who buy either $10,000 or $5,000 worth of this instrument.
You should be a little skeptical about buying bonds in the present economic climate. https://blockchainacyx512.doodlekit.com/blog/entry/20762960/the-us-dollar-could-be-made-digital-heres-how-to-find-out- -year notes from last month’s yield was 11%. This demonstrates the high risk of these bonds. If Zelensky’s government goes into exile or breaks up, repayment will not be feasible.
S&P Global Ratings cut its credit rating for Ukraine shortly after the war. It said that, while it is of the opinion that the international community will aid Ukraine in meeting its financial obligations in the coming 12 months following the conflict but there is a risk for disruptions in governance that could lead to the exposing of commercial debt servicing.
Butsa said that the Ukrainian government is working “24/7” together with its bankers, to create a dollar bond that can be sold to foreign investors. Although many are eager to help, they are also hindered by capital control which stops them from obtaining any dividends in the currency of Ukraine.
Butsa said that his goal was to develop an easy process for those who want to aid Ukraine to do it from the US. The team is also looking into options within the European Union.
Despite support for Ukraine professionalsthat have a responsibility to protect their clients’ money — may be nervous about lending money to Ukraine’s government at the moment even if the government can locate a way to provide bonds in other countries.
“We shouldn’t invest in an investment where we see [a] high probability of that money not being returned,” Szabo said, however, he said he believes the market will be attractive once the war is over.
The crypto angle
Because Ukraine is not keen on increasing the amount of debt it has, it’s attractive to explore alternatives to financing that don’t require borrowing.
“We aren’t looking to finish with the war, when it gets into the rebuilding phase spending more on the service of debt than we pay for infrastructure reconstruction,” Butsa said.
This is where NFT sales and cryptocurrency donations can be helpful. Ukraine has been encouraging people to transfer bitcoins and other crypto currencies on the official social media accounts for weeks. The government was able to access the vast group of small contributors. They don’t require complicated financial agreements to exchange currencies.
Chainalysis reported to CNN Business that Kyiv raised about $56 million worth of crypto funds as of March 28. The amount was an average donation of $30. Alex Bornyakov (Ukraine’s deputy minister for digital transformation), stated last month that the funds were used to purchase helmets and vests with bulletproof protection along with walkie talkies, as well as medical equipment.
As part of a vigil for Russian aggression of Ukraine, protestors stand beneath a massive Ukrainian flag in front the White House. This was on February 24 in 2018.
The sale of an NFT Ukraine’s flag by UkraineDAO was backed by a member from the Russian activist group Pussy Riot. More than $6.7 million was raised .
The first official NFT auction was the start of a new phase in the effort. Global supporters purchased digital images that were created with local artists. They mixed vibrant images with historical artifacts like tweets.
Kevin Lista Navarro, a 26-year-old financial advisor in Barcelona has previously made donations to support refugees from Ukraine. He has remained aware of the NFT auction and purchased two.
“Thanks this technology, you can now have the chance to give back and receive as a reward a piece of commemorative work or art,” he said. “Who knows what they might be worth in the near term.”
Kamlish Cohen Bentata and Cohen Cohen London team behind the nascent FAIR.xyz sales platform was employed for the project — were hired after cold-emailing people in Ukraine regarding the NFT project. They’ve been involved for over two and a half weeks, working late nights and running on adrenaline to get the launch ready.
Bentata stated, “It’s really crazy.”
Kamlish stated that the process went smoothly, despite heavy website traffic that could be caused by malicious actors.
https://www.openlearning.com/u/goldmanlange-raugam/blog/WhatIsBitcoinMoney of Scenius Capital said, “How Ukraine really leaned towards cryptocurrency as a means to gain financial support… this demonstrates the value of governments being more inclined towards crypto and NFT technological rather than opposing it because it’s new and frightening.”