Web 3: from profits to purpose
On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, the day that everything changed.
Although the prospect of the invasion was looming, nobody could have anticipated the extent to which Russia would go. So when they did, and markets began to plummet on the night of the news, perhaps selfishly, it left many of us scrambling, in a panic to protect what we had earned. We watched ETH fall, NFT floor prices crashed and what would happen next was left uncertain, the space was crumbling before our feet.
So what does this tell us about ourselves? I think for one it tells us that we are not entirely in reality. When we are immersed in the NFT space 24/7 we can lose sight of what is important, what is real, and the cost of being so disconnected is bigger than we think.
An array of emotions have swarmed our minds, from panic, doubt, guilt, sadness, confusion. That being said, we should not cast blame on ourselves, irrespective of whether we were ignorant to the situation, we cannot change what has already happened, but we can certainly react to it, and we did.
Humanity and life are the most important things that we have as a species, and as the days have gone on, this has become increasingly clear where across the world communities have rallied together in support of those suffering and fighting for their country’s safety. What’s more, the power of web3 and the NFT space showcased their solidarity. Across the board, individuals, groups, collections were all demonstrating their support for Ukraine and those impacted by the invasion. From donations to tweets, to fundraisers, the crypto Twitter timelines were flooded with support with many asking how they could help.
When the Ukrainian government announced that they were accepting crypto donations, things began to change.
Perhaps one of the most important efforts was RELI3F, an idea created by Andrew Wang, and established by a team of NFT creators. Their initiative brought together 37 leading NFT artists for an NFT collection that sold out within 30 seconds and raised 410 ETH, or over 1 million dollars for the crisis in Ukraine. In just 1 week they have donated to 9 different charities and social impact organizations. Furthermore, secondary sales would go to further relief efforts and spotlight Ukrainian artists.
The NFT space contributed to something unprecedented, something powerful and it brought funds directly to where they were needed the most.
Not only this, the use case for crypto has become even stronger whereby without the decentralized platforms, the opportunity to distribute such support would have been near impossible with the sanctions imposed on the affected regions where their displacement has seen the loss of savings, and making fiat withdrawals difficult.
So again, what does this tell us? It tells us that we are indeed in a powerful, and important position. It tells us that even during times of turmoil and war we can come together to make an impact and use the tools that we have been equipped with to aid others. With this tech, and the transparency of the blockchain we can change the way that charity functions, and evidently the distribution of crypto has been instrumental to the humanitarian support of the people of Ukraine.
There have been a number of other efforts, one being an NFT created by Olive Allen, a Russian NFT artist who burned her passport to display support for the Ukrainian people and to denounce Putin’s actions. All of the funds from the SuperRare auction will be donated to save the children, a Ukraine fund aimed at helping children around the world from issues such as trafficking, early marriage, being unable to obtain an education, and fleeing from violence. With NFTs being hailed as Ponzi schemes, this example has brought light to its importance, with crypto donations and NFTs directly being used by charities and the Ukraine government for humanitarian aid, wartime essentials, and military equipment.
It is not just the artists and individuals in the NFT space, but DAOs and communities. Alona, an active member of the NFT space is the co-founder of the UkraineDAO and has been instrumental to its growth and support, helping to raise $7 million dollars in just 5 days.
The DAO which is comprised of volunteers, launched a party auction for a 1/1 NFT, depicting the Ukrainian flag on February 27th, and in total, 2174 ETH was raised with over 3200 contributors to the auction. Again, this exemplifies the sheer scale of support within the NFT space, and the use of crypto to directly send funds to support Ukraine directly, no matter where you are in the world.
So as the invasion enters the second week, we can reflect on what has happened. Despite the stigma in the space, we can confidently say that there is hope, and when we come together we can do powerful things. We should all spare a thought for those in Ukraine that are suffering, and to show support, and love for each other.