The invasion of Ukraine by Russia started over a month ago and despite some newfound hope raised by the ongoing negotiations, the war seems nowhere close to the end.
Facing the onslaught, Ukraine has been fighting back on many levels simultaneously, while international aid has been scrambled.
Beyond the call from the Ukraine government for crypto donations, which to date have come close to $100 million, there is one very novel way the global public has come to the aid of the country: NFTs.
The Ukraine government, independent artists from all over the world and even morally conscious Russians have released unique tokens, with the proceeds from the sales being used to fund the Ukrainian army or provide material support to the displaced.
Here are 6 of the most important NFTs helping the Eastern European nation today.
Coming from within Russia itself is UkraineDAO, co-created by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, leader of the Russian feminist and punk Pussy Riot. The drop consists of 10,000 Ukrainian flag NFTs minted on Ethereum, as well as a single NFT image of the Ukrainian yellow and blow-striped flag.
And has raised over $6.7 million so far. People can buy a piece of the NFT, with all the proceeds going towards the Return Alive Foundation and NGO Proliska.
In an interview, Tolokonnikova explained why the group did not use its signature style of art and preferred the Ukrainian flag: “it’s our strong conceptual artistic statement. People can have different aesthetics, but it’s not about what color we prefer, it’s about uniting to save lives.”
At the initiative of the Ukrainian-based startup Holy Water, several hundreds of artists from Ukraine have come together to submit individual art which will be combined into a collage and sold as NFT art. With more than half of the artists from the capital city of Kyiv itself, the collage has a strong resonance within the nation’s population.
With bidding starting from 0.08 ETH, the project will also include creations by children who are traumatized by living in bomb shelters.
The project has collected over $60,000 to date but hopes to raise $1 million to be donated to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
A New York-based visual artist, Olive Allen is not new to cryptocurrency or the NFT sphere, with her creating NFT art since 2018.
The Russian origin artist made headlines a few days after the beginning of the war, when she set her Russian passport on fire and filmed it.
Later she minted the video as an NFT and sold it on the NFT marketplace SuperRare and saying, “I burned my passport not because I do not love my country but because I do not believe in Putin’s Russia. I stand for peace and freedom today and every day.”
All sales from her NFTs are being sent to Save the Children Ukraine Fund.
Wladimir Klitschko and WhIsBe
An unlikely pair have partnered to release an NFT collection to support humanitarian efforts in the war-razed country.
Klitschko is the longest-reining heavyweight boxing champion (and also the brother of Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv) and WhIsBe is the artist behind the iconic ‘Vandal Gummy bears’.
Their project reinvents the bears in the colors of the Ukrainian flag—yellow and blue.
“It is a magnificent initiative,” said Klitschko, “a support through art […] at the service of people who suffer.”
Mintable in three levels of $100, $1,000 and $10,000, the money raised from the NFT collection’s sale will be forwarded to Red Cross Ukraine and UNICEF.
Support Ukraine, Stop the War is a series of NFT art by the Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn. With a total of 1,000 pieces and starting from 0.24 ETH, each NFT portrays the contributions and efforts of civilians in the country during that difficult time.
“Innocent people always pay the heaviest price for war,” said Quinn, and “NFTs is my way of quickly raising funds to help the people of Ukraine and convey my authentic emotion, love and support.”
Hoping to raise roughly $750,000, Quinn intends to send the complete funds to different humanitarian efforts, the Ukrainian Red Cross, Sunflower of Peace and the Nova Ukraine.
Announced by the Ukraine Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, the Ukraine government itself has launched an NFT art collection depicting the war’s timeline. Titled “Meta History: Museum of War”, each NFT will be created and linked with a significant event or news of the war.
Tweeting on the launch he said, “while Russia uses tanks to destroy Ukraine, we rely on revolutionary blockchain tech.”
Fedorov’s statement reflects on how the country intends to not only fight back with methods never imagined before, but also on how the whole war will be captured in the unique tokens and preserved forever in the metaverse.
Art to the Rescue
A quick search on ArtCentral shows 808 NFTs released since the end of February 2022 and currently on sale to support Ukraine and peace (and that is only those with “Ukraine” in their name)
Among this myriad of initiatives, one can mention several among the Tezos community, including French artist zancan’s Sunflowers
Or Kevin Abosch, whose piece “Eyes on Ukraine” was released as early as February 15th and has raised close to 2,000XTZ so far:
Artists have always played a significant role in wars and tragedies, capturing images to show the plight or creating fervor. Today, artists from all over the world, including Russia itself, have shown that NFTs are the new way to support actions against atrocities, no matter how powerful the aggressor.
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