Ukraine’s crypto sector adjusts to war crisis
The use of crypto contributions by Ukraine to support its war effort received widespread attention from the worldwide crypto industry at the start of the Russian invasion.
Conflict also resulted in a whole crypto industry being relocated. Some businesses have left the country, while others have moved inside the country of Ukraine instead.
Many people are now returning to work, with varying levels of success. And the country is counting on the local crypto business, which just approved legislation geared at developing it, to help it recover once peace is restored. “Nothing can happen until the conflict is over,” says Mikhail Chobanian, CEO of Ukrainian exchange Kuna.
The local cryptocurrency ecosystem in Ukraine has already expanded to an impressive degree. Other notable local startups include NFT URL supplier Unstoppable Domains, cross-chain platform Allbridge, decentralised staking service Everstake, and Near protocol.
At the beginning of the conflict, Chobanian escaped Kyiv. He put up the Ukrainian government’s fundraising wallet using the exchange. In March, the Senate Banking Committee was riveted by his story of how he evaded sanctions while fleeing persecution as a refugee.
The Block has learned that Chobanian has departed Ukraine. In fact, the company began evacuating many of its employees as early as January of this year. As KUNA and other companies in the crypto business have found new homes both domestically and overseas, the industry as a whole is very mobile.
Alexander Momot, a Kyivian, is the brains of Remme, a decentralised public key technology, and Peanut, an exchange service provider. Momot told The Block that in the month leading up to the invasion, several of the company’s leaders had departed for the United States and the United Kingdom, while the remainder of the crew was relocated to Lviv in western Ukraine.