American cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has announcedIt will give $1,000 in bitcoin (BTC), each to all Ukrainian citizens who have opened accounts with the exchange since March 10, 2022. Kraken has over $10 million in funds it intends to donate.
Kraken’s initiative aims at supporting the needy at a time when Ukraine is under attack by its neighbor, Russia. It is part of the global support Ukraine is receiving from crypto community in terms crypto donations. The majority of previous donations were sent to crypto wallet addresses owned by the Ukraine government.
Kraken’s CEO Jesse Powell commented on the matter saying:
“We hope to continue being able to provide critical financial services in a time of need to both our clients in Ukraine and 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.”
Instant withdrawals and conversions free of charge
The funds will be available for immediate withdrawal once the Ukrainian Kraken account holders have received their donations. Kraken will also distribute $1000 Kraken Fee credit to the recipients of the donations. This will allow them to convert their bitcoins at no cost.
Kraken continued explaining that the $10 million in bitcoin it wants to donate to Ukrainians corresponds to the total trading fees earned from Russian-based clients during the first month 2022. It is in a show of Kraken’s disapproval of the ongoing military operation in Ukraine and Kraken does not feel it is worthy benefiting from any transactions made by Russians.
The reaction of exchanges to the Ukrainian invasion
The Russian military operation in Ukraine was immediately started by the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federorov. He pleaded with crypto exchanges to block all Russian addresses.
Binance and Kraken did not however agree with the prime minister’s plea, with Binance arguing that “crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom,” and such a move would go against the core value of the industry. Binance said that the majority of accounts belonged to innocent people who aren’t for war. Kraken supported Binance’s view that cryptocurrency is about freedom.
Coinbase on the other hand blocked approximately 25,000 addresses from Russian clients that were allegedly connected to the ongoing conflict.