Minutes after Russia announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine, effectively declaring war on the Eastern European country, Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin on Twitter.
Buterin said on Wednesday evening that he was “extremely unhappy” by Putin’s choice to “launch a war instead of finding a diplomatic solution” to Russia’s issue with Ukraine.
“This is a crime against the people of Ukraine and Russia,” he stated. “I wish everyone safety and security, even though I know it will not be possible.”
Buterin added: “Reminder: Ethereum is neutral, but I am not.”
Crypto Price Tumbles
Following Putin’s announcement, cryptocurrency prices plummeted. Bitcoin prices declined 3.8 percent to $35,031.86 on Thursday morning, while Ethereum prices plummeted 5.2 percent to $2,388.98.
Over the past week, Bitcoin has dropped roughly 20%, while Ethereum has dropped 22%, undermining the premise that cryptocurrency values can withstand geopolitical crises that wreak havoc on traditional financial markets.
Bitcoin’s “safe haven narrative has almost totally disintegrated as the threat of military war grows and the US-Russia relationship deteriorates, putting the global financial market in risk-aversion mode,” according to Bloomberg. In a Tuesday letter, Yuya Hasegawa, a crypto market analyst at Japanese crypto exchange Bitbank, said.
In a televised address, Putin stated that Russia’s military activities will be aimed at “demilitarising” and “de-nazifying” Ukraine. “We have no plans to invade Ukrainian territory,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
On Wednesday evening, CNN and Politico reported a “constant stream of explosions” in multiple Ukrainian towns, including Kyiv, the country’s capital, and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
“Subways are filled, streets are congested, people [are gathering] with loved ones and [trying] to evacuate,” Oleksiy Sorokin, a correspondent for the Ukrainian outlet Kyiv Independent, tweeted.
Ukraine has also closed its airspace to civilian planes, citing the current situation’s considerable dangers to aviation safety, according to the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise’s website.
Buterin is one of the few corporate executives who has spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine thus far. Earlier this month, the Ethereum cofounder urged Putin to “choose wisely” before making a choice on Ukraine. He stated on Twitter, “An attack on Ukraine can only harm Russia, Ukraine, and humanity.”
Buterin, 28, was born in Russia but immigrated to Canada in 2000. Buterin first became interested in Bitcoin when he was 17. He was intrigued by the decentralized features of the digital asset and how it could empower ordinary people.
Power is a “zero-sum game,” Buterin told Wired in 2016. “If you talk about empowering the little guy…you are necessarily disempowering the big guy. And personally, I say screw the big guy,” he said.