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Fintech Response to Russian Invasion Broad, Chaotic   Featured

Russia’s recent aggression in Ukraine has set off a complex chain reaction of military, humanitarian and economic activity that has seeped into nearly every facet of intercontinental relations. As world leaders continue to evaluate their responses, so too has the private sector; this includes the ever-relevant financial technology community.

Ukraine War flag gbf17affd1 640The developing situation has resulted in a number of official sanctions from state actors in an effort to freeze out Russian financial activity and disincentive the invasion. Allies of Ukraine have all but completely shut down banking operations in Russia, including many of its banks being cut off from the critical financial communication tool SWIFT.

However, it is not just governments around the world that have taken it upon themselves to weigh in. For example, a partnership between public blockchain platform Solana, web3 company Everstake and the Ukrainian government has formed to facilitate the sending of aid using cryptocurrency.

“In Ukraine, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support from those in the crypto community globally. We’ve set up this [decentralized autonomous organization] in partnership with some of these friends to raise funds in the wake of the war that’s overtaken our country,” reads information from the donation site. “All funds collected through this effort will go directly towards aiding Ukrainians on the ground. We’re in close touch with all branches of the Ukrainian government and local [non-governmental organizations].”

From Twitter

Mykhailo Fedorov @FedorovMykhailo

"Massive support from crypto projects @solana @SolanaFndn and @everstake_pool which set up a joint initiative @_AidForUkraine in collaboration with our @mintsyfra to raise funds for @Ukraine. #SOL address: 66pJhhESDjdeBBDdkKmxYYd7q6GUggYPWjxpMKNX39KV"

Aid for Ukraine is also taking donations in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, notes the announcement. “We will do our best to ensure funds raised get into the right hands, as quickly as possible. Aid for Ukraine is working closely with FTX to transfer digital assets into fiat currency. Funds will be deposited directly into a government account.”

Additionally, PYMNTS has reported other companies are using a different tact to address the matter, and some have taken it upon themselves to shutter services previously offered to Russians. Last week, payments company Wise and remittance processor Remitly suspended services in Russia in response to Russia’s aggression, according to the outlet.

Russian officials, though, have not ignored the private sector’s reaction to the conflict and have themselves called out several companies for targeting them. Last week, the country’s foreign ministry said companies like Google and Meta are responsible for “inciting war” and accused the tech giants of “censorship” for throttling access to Kremlin media outlets and failing to open local offices per Russian law, notes information from investment resource Seeking Alpha.

In addition to the physical conflict, private-sector response and government-directed economic sanctions, the U.S. and its allies are also preparing for a potential cyber war that could have a direct impact on the day-to-day activities of civilians all over the world. To that end, President Joe Biden has issued a warning to Russia not to escalate a digital war.

“Let me also repeat the warning I made last week: If Russia pursues cyberattacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond," Biden said. “For months, we have been working closely … with the private sector to harden their cyber defenses [and] sharpen our ability to respond to Russian cyberattacks as well.”

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