International news has been dominated for several months by the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe. Since the beginning of the year, unrest and dispute have graduated to a full-blown war between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Putin ordered forces to invade. Despite multiple talks of peace, no end is in sight, and the people of Ukraine are being forced to flee their homes and their country.
You may wonder, what does all this have to do with NFTs? On the surface, nothing, but this has shone a light on the things this industry can achieve for real-world causes when people have the heart and motivation to do so.
This week saw another addition to the roster of people using their influence in the NFT world to raise money and support the projects working to aid and assist the war-torn nation. These movements prove that non-fungible tokens are much more than fun little widgets for the rich to collect.
New NFT Project by Alexey Kondakov
Alexey Kondakov is a multimedia artist based in Ukraine. He is known for surrealistic photography that combines classic art and sculpture with modern scenes. That is exactly what he is doing for his new NFT collection. Reverberate Ukraine comes from his home city of Kyiv- the country’s capital- which has been savaged by attacks from Russian forces.
The drop includes five works. Each photograph was taken by Kondakov in semi-derelict Kyiv, with superimposed figures from classical, often centuries-old art. The photos were taken on his mobile phone. In his own words, it is the only thing he could do given the current living situation for him and so many others.
Reverberate Ukraine’s release is possible thanks to support from Bonhams- a London-based auctioneer with one of the world’s longest track records of operation and success. Bonhams is running the auction for 10 days: from May 3rd to May 10th. People can register online from anywhere in the world to make a bid.
The other organization helping Kondakov launch his collection and achieve his goal is Giving Block- a donation platform in the crypto space.
All proceeds from Reverberate Ukraine will go to World Central Kitchen- a charity and non-profit working to feed Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries, as well as those who are still inside the borders. The organization- launched by Jose Andres in 2010, after the Haiti earthquakes- has already established eight kitchens along the border between Ukraine and Poland.
Even after the auction ends, Reverberate Ukraine intends to continue with long-term support for the cause by using Giving Block to automatically direct a portion of all secondary sales of the collection’s NFTs. In addition to the five digital tokens, 100 prints of one of Kondakov’s works will be sold for 100 pounds sterling, with every penny going directly to World Central Kitchen and their efforts in Ukraine.
Other Recent Movements for the Ukrainian Cause
It is not the first example of NFTs becoming a way to generate funds to support Ukrainians in this harrowing time. Many individuals have taken to the marketplaces to raise funds using their work alongside the Ukrainian Government.
In March, Ukrainian Government officials announced they would be launching a collection. Each of the 54 NFTs documents events from the beginning of the war against Russia. It is named the Meta History Museum of War.
The tokens themselves stand as news stories, with illustrations and tweets to keep a record of the devastation and trials Ukraine and its people are facing. More than $100 million worth of cryptocurrency donations has been made to the country, all of which is funding humanitarian efforts and supporting the troops and citizens.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine went as far as to sign a bill officially legalizing the crypto trade in the country and has personally supported the movement.
It is easy to remove ourselves from a war happening so far away, but movements like this remind us how much can be achieved in the digital space. If one NFT collection can rally millions of dollars to help people in their time of need, imagine what a joint global effort could achieve.
It certainly stands as food for thought as we see artists like Alexey Kondakov doing their part to provide food for refugees.