How Ukraine’s wide use of cryptocurrency is playing out during the war


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Michael is president of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine and founder of the Kuna Exchange, which lets people buy cryptocurrency and swap between them. Earlier this year, the Ukrainian government set up wallets on Kuna and other exchanges to accept donations to the war effort in crypto; in April, Bloomberg reported it had received over $60 million in crypto donations.

What’s more, earlier this year Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also signed a virtual assets bill into law, which will recognize cryptocurrency as an asset in Ukraine when the war is over. As president of the Blockchain Association, Michael lobbied for this law, which you’ll hear him talk about — especially in the context of how little faith he has in the banking system. He says several times that, even before the war, it couldn’t be trusted and that people were already using a combination of crypto and dollars for large transactions instead of Ukraine’s actual currency, which is called the hryvnia.


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Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott. It was researched by Liz Lian and it was edited by Callie Wright.

The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino and our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.

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