Through Bloomberg’s interview with KUNA’s Michael Chobanian, we can learn a lot about present-day Ukrainian life. The man’s job is to use cryptocurrencies to settle transactions at light speed. And to manage the crypto donations Ukraine gets from all over the world. Before the war, Chobanian was the name behind the KUNA exchange and the head of Ukraine’s Blockchain Association. Now, he runs the country’s “virtual government crypto fund.”
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“I knew that there would be a time in the future when crypto would play a vital role. I never imagined it would be because of a war, that was definitely not my plan,” Chobanian told the publication. Before the interview begins, though, the article highlights how important the mentioned crypto fund has been:
“Alex Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister for digital transformation, said in mid-March that crypto donations had enabled the army to buy 5,500 bulletproof vests, 500 helmets, night-vision goggles, and medicine.”
What can we learn about cryptocurrencies from the KUNA CEO interview? A lot, as it turns out.
Ukraine’s Crypto Scene Before The War
According to KUNA’s Michael Chobanian, “Ukraine is really, really big on crypto, and now it is even bigger. Now everyone knows about it.” Before the war, though, his country was:
- “The No. 1 crypto country in the world”
- “Big companies in the crypto space had offices in Kyiv.”
- “Gatherings of crypto guys” were hosted “on a weekly basis.”
- Before Covid, there were “literally thousands of people at the meetups.”
- The country “had probably a couple of thousand developers.”
BTC price chart for 04/01/2022 on Vantage | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
What Does KUNA’s Michael Chobanian Do?
Chobanian defines himself as ”a crypto banker for the government,” and claims that his “role is to supply my people with all the necessities that they require and make sure that we can pay as fast as possible.” However, what does he do, exactly?
- “Collecting, fundraising, and storing crypto.”
- “Exchanging crypto to crypto and crypto to fiat.”
- “Opening bank accounts for intermediaries or for the government, and then buying whatever is required by the Ministry of Defense.”
- “Find the suppliers who are willing to sell us humanitarian goods, or helmets, or bulletproof vests for crypto.”
Then, the KUNA executive explains crypto’s appeal in a few lines:
“And you can understand that time is money for my country right now. So if we can save a minute, it means that we can save at least someone’s life, so we are trying to speed up the process and crypto is helping us here.”
In Ukraine, Cash Is Trash & Crypto Is King
The war, and the pandemic before, have put things into perspective. Now, the Ukrainians know for sure what we’ve suspected for years. According to KUNA’s Michael Chobanian:
“Cash, U.S. dollars, in Ukraine are pretty much useless. No one wants them. Prior to that, dollars were the main payment method for the OTC market. Now considering that you can’t really move cash outside of the country and you cannot store it securely, no one really wants it.”
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According to the KUNA CEO, “Now the most valuable form of money in Ukraine is crypto.” It’s portable. It’s fairly fungible. And, most importantly in war times, it settles at lightning speed. Back to Chobanian:
“Before the war, there were a lot of skeptics, especially in the government, in the banks, and in the military. Now there is no skepticism because they understand that we save lives every single minute with crypto.”
Lately, it seems like the whole world has become an advertisement for cryptocurrencies. It’s a shame that the circumstances are this gloomy, but the fact remains. Cryptocurrencies solve problems and are here to stay.
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