Examining crypto’s usage in Ukraine, sanctions, and the Biden Executive Order

Around the Block from Coinbase Ventures sheds light on key trends in crypto. Written by Connor Dempsey

There’s a gravitational shift taking place within our industry. Since Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine, crypto has been:

  • used to crowdfund tens of millions for the Ukrainian defense
  • incorrectly speculated as a viable avenue for the Russian government to evade sanctions
  • the focus of a historic Executive Order put forward by the Biden administration

At this point, one thing is clear: this technology is a major emerging force in the geopolitical landscape. In this edition of Around The Block, we examine crypto in a geopolitical context, along with the difficult questions the world is asking.

An email address for money

In the aftermath of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, crypto’s power for coordinating economic activity was put on full display once the official Ukrainian twitter account tweeted out a plea for aid, accompanied with two long strings of letters and digits.

These long strings of characters were the Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses of the Ukrainian government, and the tweet represents the first time a nation state has ever sought aid directly in crypto. At a time when the Ukrainian government and banking sites were being flooded with DDoS (denial of service) attacks, and crowdfunding platforms were deplatforming organizations raising aid for Ukraine, the utility of permissionless, borderless networks for sending money was vividly illustrated.

At this time of writing, the Ukrainian…

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