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‘We don’t have time’ for traditional fundraising, crypto is most efficient: Ukraine DAO

With limited access to donations through traditional crowdfunding, cryptocurrencies and NFTs offer immediate help, Trippy Labs tells Forkast.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted millions of dollars in donations from across the world. But traditional crowdfunding platforms are not necessarily up to the task. For example, Patreon suspended pages seeking donations for Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive due to its policy against fundraising for weapons or military activities. Come Back Alive has been raising money for Ukrainian forces in conflict zones since 2014.

Crypto, as a result, has taken center stage as a convenient alternative.

Ukraine DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization founded by NFT marketplace SuperRare curator Trippy Labs, Nadya Tolokonnikova of performance art group Pussy Riot, and members of PleasrDAO is collecting direct crypto donations as well as auctioning an NFT of the Ukrainian flag. The proceeds go to Ukrainian civilian organizations. 

See related article: Ukraine crypto donations top $36M amid Russian invasion

Forkast caught up with a representative of Trippy Labs to learn more about Ukraine DAO. They declined to reveal their identity to Forkast.

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

Are you located in Ukraine? Can you give us some insight into what it is like to operate there at the moment?

The majority of people supporting the DAO are not in Ukraine. However, many of the group members organizing the DAO and its resources have direct communication with family and friends inside the borders of Ukraine and neighboring countries. In addition, the DAO has contact with personnel on the ground providing up-to-date information regarding the evolving situation and how and where to direct the funds to the organization Come Back Alive. This organization’s campaign is on the ground aiding civilians.

Tell us about Ukraine DAO, the cause it supports. How is a DAO different from traditional funding means? 

Using the decentralized and agile coordination models of Web 3.0, Ukraine DAO was formed on Feb. 24 to raise funds to support Ukrainian civilians and military suffering from the attack by Putin’s forces earlier in the week. 

Come Back Alive will receive 100% of (the) funds to distribute food, medical supplies, and other necessary services to those in need. It was selected due to its transparent and effective local operations.

We don’t have time for traditional means of fundraising, and crypto has already proven to be the most efficient tool to offer immediate help.

In addition to raising crypto funds outright, you are also auctioning off a unique Ukrainian flag NFT.  Can you walk us through the decision to mint and auction off this NFT?

In addition to accepting individual crypto donations directly at Ukraine DAO, the DAO is auctioning a 1 of 1 NFT image of the Ukrainian flag. The auction site went live on Saturday, Feb. 26. The decision to mint an image of the Ukrainian flag as the NFT was to focus on symbols representing the Ukrainian people and their country. 

We did not want the focus to be on an individual artist or influencer, or establish that one NFT was more valuable over another; all donations matter. The sale is hosted as a PartyBid auction, a platform that allows people to pool resources and bid collectively for group ownership of the NFT. Anyone who donates to the PartyBid will receive a proof of attendance protocol (POAP) digital souvenir commemorating their donation. 

This is the first global conflict with heavy participation from the cryptocurrency and blockchain community and DAOs. Do you see it accelerating the international adoption of these technologies?

Presently, it is the best global tool to provide immediate access to resources. It has been an overall hope of the Web3 community to utilize crypto to provide support for humanitarian purposes, removing red tape barriers and intermediaries that typically slow down the ability to help people in desperate need.

How do you deliver the funds raised to the military?

The DAO has several members with direct connections on the ground to the organization distributing resources. Without giving away the system we’re using or identifying people on the ground, the initiative we have chosen to distribute funds into the right hands on the ground is solid. 

People outside of Ukraine need to understand the military and civilians of Ukraine are united in protecting their country. Just in the past few days, men and women of all ages have joined the military in many capacities to help the people of Ukraine. The military isn’t just bearing arms, they are protecting and providing resources for civilians, like food, medical supplies, finding safe shelter for people, protecting the country’s infrastructure and electricity.