When Ukraine ordered them to freeze any accounts belonging to Russians, many large cryptocurrency exchanges issued uncompromising comments, with some using crypto’s history of libertarian values to support their actions.
However, many people were discreetly complying with the sanctions strategy intended at crippling Russia’s economy.
Crypto As A Focal Point Of Humanitarian Crisis
The disconnect between the words and actions of crypto’s biggest players highlights the difficulties that the crypto community now faces as a mainstream industry in the midst of a geopolitical and humanitarian crisis — one that appears to be a watershed moment for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.
On the Ukrainian side, digital coins have lived up to their reputation for facilitating the transfer of funds across international borders, with admirers raising the equivalent of more than $54 million in bitcoin donations.
However, on the Russian side, the ostensibly borderless form of money has clashed with the realities of international sanctions imposed in response to a major European war — as well as the moral dilemma of whether crypto market players can be trusted.
Between the two, cryptocurrency exchanges and bitcoin hardliners — both of whom have espoused what they claim is the libertarian ethos embedded in crypto .
Have had to grapple with difficult questions about how much they want to embrace a technology that critics argue has little practical value aside from money laundering and investment hedging while requiring massive amounts of electricity and fossil fuel combustion.
They’ve also had to face the fact that turning bitcoin into a huge corporation necessitates embracing international penalties.
“There is a libertarian strand running through cryptocurrency,” said Ryan Selkis, CEO of Messari, a crypto research and data firm.
“However, I believe the pushback many people in crypto have is against dragnet surveillance and extrajudicial seizures.” “We’re all in this together.”
Crypto in recent years moved from a fringe technology to the kind of mainstream industry that pushes multiple Super Bowl ads from companies backed with hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
The underlying blockchain technology relies on distributed computing power to create public and unbreakable digital ledgers that can track who owns what without a central authority.
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