Since the idea of cryptos began to gain a foothold in global financial markets and regional economies, people have talked about its ultimate value and usefulness. Any crypto enthusiast or expert would tell you that it is the future, but proponents of the traditional system would say that it is a passing fancy.
In the last 2 years, two incidents have both validated and disproved these perspectives: the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent near-global lockdown protocol, and the war in Ukraine. The former is mostly behind us but the latter is right in front of our noses. Even so, both experiences show us that the traditional financial system is inconsistent, inadequate, and imperfect. Enter the crypto industry and the volley of advantages that it has brought—is bringing and will bring—to the table. The prospect of absolute decentralization and value distribution (such that there is no longer distinction in value with regard to regional (fiat) currencies) is exciting enough reason to make progressive minds jump at the technology.
So, with COVID-19 (hopefully) behind us and the war in Ukraine in view, what has changed about the crypto industry? Are we seeing a future free of invasions due to the proliferation of crypto assets and regulations? Should we expect further applications of the blockchain vision such that the social and economic aspects of our lives are better stimulated for safety and satisfaction?
This article does not dare provide answers to these questions. However, we dare to make informed speculations about how the war in Ukraine has affected the crypto industry, especially with reference to regional and global acceptance and usage.
The war in Ukraine has opened a lot of eyes regarding the way that national economies work. For a long time now, there has been talk of economic sustainability, the kind of safe haven that a government should be able to give its people so that they don’t have to fall back on milking their natural environments dry. Trade would be global, all nations would have a seat at the round table, and the earth would invariably have one big happy human family.
The war in Ukraine has taught us that this dream has several implications. For one, as a government or government representative, you should not expect that you would be able to do whatever you want to the people of your country. More than that, you should not fantasize about telling someone else how to run their country. If you do, you would be slammed with sanctions and will have no other choice but to bow your head.
This is the reality to be expected of social and economic sustainability: a universal consciousness of accepted conduct and norms. We are halfway there, which is why Russia could be excluded from the global cake of economic benefits when they decided to invade another country and start a war.
As of right now, many global financial markets have seen it fit to rob Russia of transaction rights. Economic and employment networks, particularly freelance, have also shut their doors on Russians as a way to express displeasure at the way things are running.
This is the real face of an economic sanction, and it means that the offending party, in this case, Russia, would receive scorn and contempt from the rest of the world. On the other hand, the aggrieved party, in this case, Ukraine, would receive as much love and support as the rest of the world can bundle up and send across.
Before President Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, crypto assets were still viewed with reservation. This reservation came from the fact that the industry did not appear to create, collect, or consolidate value. Instead, cryptocurrencies, especially, were classified as ‘pretend money’ as if the value was created from thin air.
Even the perceived value of the crypto industry that came from public contracts and understanding always came under attack. It also did not help that the price of even the most standard of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum experienced significant volatility. One thing that crypto traders had going for them, even now, is the opportunity for individual wealth creation that came with the industry. You can invest $100 in a crypto project today, and get $1,000 in return after just 10 days.
Of course, crypto exchange platforms have always been emphasizing the fact that the idea of decentralized finance (DeFi) is beyond ‘mere’ wealth creation. Transaction speed and inter-border penetration, among others, were promoted as even more important gains to be had from making cryptos a mainstream thing. Somehow, the war in Ukraine has accentuated the other advantages of having crypto assets and currencies as legitimate assets and currencies. More governments are considering developing frameworks that do not restrict—but amplify—the various offerings of blockchains.
Once, the mere mention of DeFi made governments livid. Now, concepts like centralized finance (CeFi) and centralized decentralized finance (CeDeFi) are gaining traction.
The various sanctions on Russia’s integration with the global economy have led to an increase in the attention paid to cryptos. As any committed crypto community member would tell you, virtual currencies are not limited to places, so the barriers of physical distances are nullified.
This is why even though Ukrainians are not able to leave their country, they are still able to transact and exchange with other people. It is the same with the internet of information: Russians can still post stuff online and we can chat with them. Virtual currencies operate the same way.
So, when there is a lockdown on fiat currencies due to the war, what do you think happens with virtual currencies, cryptos especially?
Interests in cryptos and the crypto industry have ballooned significantly. But that is not a surprise. Faced with a proverbial Wall of China around Ukraine, the only way the invaded people can receive financial help is via something that is intangible and invisible, but valuable enough to overturn the situation—or at least soften the blows.
The way blockchains operate, it is not difficult to design projects and tokens that are specifically aimed at relieving the suffering in Ukraine. As the concept of blockchain is incomplete with transparency, the lack of trust that is generally inseparable from traditional fund-raising methods (e.g., crowdfunding) does not exist.
As we have seen from the number of people that donated generously to the efforts to alleviate the distress in Ukraine, people are more open to sharing their wealth as long as they know that it is for a good cause. According to CNBC, more than $50 million has been raised so far, and the meter is still counting.
There is no serious black market for cryptos, at least, none that an entire country can rely on for long. Therefore, once a nation has been sanctioned, it would not be able to access the opportunities afforded by the crypto industry. As a result, nations are warming up to themselves so that they don’t have to throw their hats in the ring and be subject to sanctions. Now that it is globally acknowledged that the crypto industry has roots all over the world’s financial structure, the ease at which sanctions can be placed on a country’s economy has grown significantly. This means that tyrannical nations have to think twice before abusing their people or neighbors.
Consider Russia, for instance. Once it was decided that President Vladimir Putin had gone too far in his actions, the big platforms for crypto exchanges were called upon to help reduce the tension. When these platforms were done, Russian accounts were frozen so that the people of Russia with crypto assets could no longer use them.
Of course, the freezing of crypto assets was done with a lot of reservation. Such a move is not in the original protocol of the industry. After all, freedom and anonymity are fundamental components of the blockchain system and allow the infrastructure to run in such a way that the interests of individuals who are part of the system are protected.
There is still a lot of discussion about whether the freezing of Russian crypto accounts has crossed the line of autonomy written into the very fabric of blockchains. Even diehard decentralists (crypto traders, investors, and enthusiasts calling for the full decentralization of the crypto industry) have made concessions regarding the uniqueness of this situation. War allows the existence of a lot of gray areas, and we know.
As the war rages on and more interests are drawn in, the value of cryptos has fluctuated time and again. However, this time, it was different from the volatility that arrived with NFTs (non-fungible tokens), for instance.
Bitcoin fell below $35,000 immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Ethereum soon followed suit by falling below $2,400. Although both cryptos have long since returned to their peak, analysts have reported that the cryptos industry is seeing a lot of vested interests. More individuals are willing to complement fiat assets with crypto assets, and more corporate entities are willing to redesign their financial structures to better fit into the expanding crypto industry. Provided that there are no surprises in the next few months, we all expect even more favorable odds for cryptos, especially in the form of public acceptance, approval, and endorsement.
The advantages of this increasingly positive view of the crypto industry are clear. Crypto assets and tokens will become even more legitimized forms of exchange and value investment than before. Also, thanks to token standards, it is not infinitely easier to build tokens on the Binance Smart Chain (BNB), the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), Solana (SOL), and others like this.
For crypto traders that came onboard the ship after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the lines of crypto acceptance were not always this straightforward.
Crypto is no longer the outcast in global finance mechanics. National efforts toward integrating decentralization protocols and implementing some of these innovative designs are increasing daily. For the individual, the benefits are numerous and dense, such that a lifetime of opportunities for wealth creation and stability is possible.
The thing is, we cannot predict to a tee how the crypto market might be impacted by crypto. We know that there is going to be some impact, but in which direction? Should we expect Euro-type tokens, the type of crypto assets that are not universally available but only to a select few for their protection? Or should we expect more crypto universality, in which case cryptocurrencies will be getting more time in the sun? But as you can see with both possibilities, the crypto industry will grow.
We can expect that the crypto industry will become more universal after the war in Ukraine. The donations to Ukraine showed us that cryptos are not affected by regional differences, and risk exposures of foreign exchange do not apply. Thus, we expect that many more individuals, corporate entities, and constitutional governments will see reasons to adopt the crypto market.
Ukraine itself has already implemented policies that will take off once the strings of war have been properly tied. Even the EU (European Union) has begun applying a framework for the crypto market and crypto trading. We can expect more of these national measures to retrofit blockchain architectures to accommodate core financial policies. This will not only be limited to developed nations and economies but also their developing counterparts.
So far, only the most exclusive industries (e.g., fashion—and luxury fashion at that) have utterly taken up cryptos. We expect this margin of sector operation to widen significantly. Cryptos will become integral elements in manufacturing, transportation, sports, and many other industries and sectors.
The tangent of financial and economic evolution is shifting in favor of the crypto industry. So, there are bound to be more and more and more applications of crypto around. The once-defined ‘pretend value’ of the industry has already crystallized into tangible benefits, thanks to the war in Ukraine.
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