Kraken – a popular cryptocurrency exchange based in San Francisco, CA – has announced it will donate approximately $10 million in bitcoin to citizens of Ukraine affected by the recent Russian invasion.
Kraken Is Giving Crypto to Ukrainian Customers
A few weeks ago, Russia invaded its eastern European neighbor, and the battle has seemingly led to countless civilian deaths. Not long ago, the world watched in horror as Russian troops allegedly bombed the maternity ward of a hospital, leading to widespread investigations. Kraken is trying to do its part by helping those who have seen their lives torn apart in recent days.
Kraken says that any clients who created accounts through its platform prior to March 9 of this year will be eligible to receive as much as $1,000 in BTC. It can be assumed that many Ukrainian customers have turned to Kraken during these rough times given that the overall donation amount comes to $10 million. This basically comes to about 10,000 individual customers.
In addition, traders would be able to withdraw these funds at any time, and conversion fees would ultimately be waived as a means of saving them money. Jesse Powell – the CEO of Kraken – explained in a recent interview:
We hope to continue being able to provide critical financial services in a time of need to both our clients in Ukraine and in Russia. Cryptocurrency remains an important humanitarian tool, especially at a time when many around the world can no longer rely on traditional banks and custodians.
Despite its aid to Ukrainian citizens, Kraken has been one of the many crypto exchanges out there defying congressional requests that they refute all business with Russia. While the company has said it will obey sanctions and other important laws, Kraken is refusing to cut off standard Russian citizens that may have seen their wealth disintegrate in recent days thanks to the fall of the ruble, the country’s national currency.
Kraken and many other crypto exchanges have stated that these individuals have nothing to do with the alleged war crimes that are currently being initiated by Russia’s leaders. They have also claimed that these citizens have a right to ensure their wealth stays steady just like everyone else, and they should be given opportunities for financial independence and privacy just like everyone else.
Still Providing Business to Russians
Powell even joked in a statement that if Kraken was going to freeze the financial accounts of residents of countries that were initiating inappropriate attacks on innocent countries, it would start by freezing “all US accounts.”
At the time of writing, members of the U.S. government like senator Elizabeth Warren, a democrat of Massachusetts, are calling on many crypto exchanges around the world to do all they can to cooperate with U.S. sanctions against Russia and cut off business with the country.