Ukraine Government Prepares First-of-its-kind Airdrop to Crypto Donors

The novel crowdfunding and airdrop underscore potential for traditional organizations to bootstrap mainstream crypto adoption


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key takeaways

  • The government has not provided additional information about what the Thursday airdrop will entail
  • Since Ukraine launched its unconventional crowdfunding efforts on Feb. 26, it has accumulated over $30 million from about 50,000 donations

Update: Ukraine has since called off the airdrop for its crowdfunding campaign contributors. Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted the cancellation just 29 hours after the country made the initial airdrop announcement.

The Ukrainian government has confirmed an airdrop for anyone who contributes to its crypto donations by 11 am ET on Thursday, March 3. The potential reward for the global community of donors foreshadows new potential use cases for crypto across mainstream audiences.

For context, airdrops involve businesses or crypto projects providing free tokens or NFTs to their communities as a way to encourage adoption — in this case, to increase donations to the country. The government has not provided additional information about what Thursday’s airdrop will entail.

“Ukraine making history tomorrow by being the first nation state to airdrop a token to those that donated,” Luke Martin, host of The Coinist Podcast, tweeted on Wednesday.

“Countries airdropping coins. Wild times.”

Ukraine launched its unconventional crowdfunding efforts on Feb. 26, just two days after Russia invaded the country. Since then, it has accumulated over $30 million from about 50,000 donations to its Ethereum, Polkadot and US dollar Tether wallets, as of Wednesday morning, according to data from Elliptic.

Additionally, the popular decentralized exchange Uniswap has created a “Donate to Ukraine” feature on its platform, which allows users to swap listed tokens into ether donations for Ukraine in a single Ethereum transaction. The exchange wasn’t available for immediate comment.

“The people of Ukraine are grateful to Uniswap,” Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister of Ukraine and minister of digital transformation of Ukraine, said in a tweet

Among those donations was a CryptoPunk NFT (non-fungible token) smoking a cigarette while wearing a blue hat and sunglasses. That NFT was worth about $200,000 and was sent to Ukraine’s Ethereum address.

Gavin Wood, who co-founded Ethereum and is the current founder of multichain protocol Polkadot and Kusama, also donated $5 million to the country, Ukraine tweeted.

“Bitcoin was created in a time of global adversity, the great financial crisis,” Matthew Le Merle, managing partner of Blockchain Coinvestors, said to Blockworks. “Right now, in Russia and Ukraine, the world is coming apart for tens of millions of people. Fortunately, Bitcoin is there for them and their families just when they need it.”

The crypto crowdfunding and airdrop point to a potential new way for mainstream adoption of the industry through traditional organizations such as government agencies.

“Airdropped tokens will forever serve as a public and immutable proof of something,” Haohan Xu, CEO of Apifiny, said to Blockworks. “Often these tokens will not only be receipts, but something of value.

In this case, the airdrop is not just a token of appreciation from Ukraine, but could also be valuable, Xu said.

“Donations are a simple point A to B transaction,” Xu noted. “As this situation develops in Eastern Europe, we will perhaps see blockchain-based [decentralized finance] apps do more good, such as facilitating financial access while centralized infrastructure is down.”

Funding the Ukrainian national defense through a global cryptocurrency crowdfund and airdrop is the modern day “war bond,” Nick Tomaino, general partner at 1confirmation, wrote

In the past, countries including the United States, Germany and Canada all used war bonds to raise money to fund participation in wars.

These bonds were typically limited to domestic involvement, so only Americans could buy Liberty Bonds, for example, Tomaino said. However, cryptocurrency-based crowdfunding and airdrops allow for anyone to participate globally.

“Cryptocurrency enables Ukraine to easily raise funds from anyone in the world who wants to support protecting their sovereignty — not just Ukrainians,” he said.

“This has the potential to help deescalate the dangerous situation the world is currently [in.]”

While it is hard to determine the short-term impact from Ukraine’s crowdfunding and airdrop, the long-term impact can be very positive for blockchain adoption, Le Merle said.

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