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Ukraine anti-war protests 2022 1
Photography Virginie Khateeb

How Ukraine is using NFTs in its war with Russia

The country’s crypto art ‘museum’ will help fund its war effort and combat Russian misinformation

Late last month, just days after Russia began its bloody invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government began taking cryptocurrency donations, accepting everything from Bitcoin and Ethereum, to meme currencies such as Dogecoin. So far, the donation drive has reportedly raised funds equivalent to $63.8 million, including a single $5 million donation from Polkadot founder Gavin Wood, almost $2 million linked to a collaboration between Julian Assange and the digital artist Pak, and a CryptoPunk NFT valued at around $200,000.

Now, the Ukrainian government itself is branching out into the crypto space, releasing a series of NFTs that will document the war and help raise funds for the country. Issued by the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the NFTs will go on sale beginning today (March 29), listed for 0.15 ETH (around $500).

Titled Meta History: Museum of War, the NFT project is described as “an NFT-museum of the war of Putin’s Russia against Ukraine”, currently comprising 54 blockchain-based digital images that are presented as a timeline of the invasion.

Each NFT includes a tweet that marks a significant moment in the ongoing war, such as president Volodymyr Zelensky’s video messages to the people of Ukraine, or Nato’s call for Russia to cease its assault on February 26. Each tweet is accompanied by an illustration, produced in collaboration with Ukrainian NFT artists. So far, the collection spans the first three days.

100 per cent of proceeds from the imminent sale will be delivered to the “official crypto-accounts of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine” and distributed to support the country’s army and civilians, drawing comparisons to war bonds – debt securities issued by a government in times of conflict, to help fund the military and fend off inflation.

As noted by the founders of the project, the NFTs are also intended to combat Russian propaganda and misinformation. “Disinformation is used by Russia on a par with deadly military weapons in Ukraine,” reads a tweet from the official Meta History account. “The NFT-museum is based on a deep intention to keep the memory of real wartime events via blockchain and raise charitable donations to support Ukraine.”

Since the outbreak of war, Ukraine has taken swift steps to legalise the crypto sector, which will be regulated by its National Securities and Stock Market Commission. The turn toward crypto-assets is significant because it allows the country to bypass much of the red tape and administration involved in international donations. Blockchain technology will also allow Ukraine to receive a cut of all future sales of its Meta History NFTs, which buyers will be allowed to auction via secondary markets. 

Take a look at the Ukrainian NFTs via the Meta History “warline” here.