War in the Time of Crypto -
"In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which side is crypto helping? Both."
Why this is important: The world continues to watch Russia's invasion of Ukraine as it dominates news outlets. An angle that might not be realized is the impact cryptocurrency may have. Before the invasion, Ukraine was a top European adopter of cryptocurrency and ranked as the fourth biggest in the world. In September 2021, it legalized its use. At the same time, Russia has emerged as a leader of illicit cryptocurrency activity, including ransomware attacks and cryptocurrency-based money laundering. Since the invasion started, there have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency donations raised to support the Ukrainian army. Western cryptocurrency activists are calling on people to mobilize and raise more to support the Ukrainian people. One cryptocurrency exchange gave $25 to each Ukrainian on its exchange. There also are fears that Russia could turn to cryptocurrency as a means to avoid Western sanctions, though some commentators believe that fear is unlikely to materialize due to the lack of infrastructure to integrate cryptocurrency into Russia's financial system. The extent to which cryptocurrency will actually influence this conflict remains to be seen, but this issue is an important one to watch as the conflict continues.
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