A Ukrainian entrepreneur touted the role of crypto in helping the embattled country survive the Russian invasion, telling U.S. senators at a hearing Thursday that his exchange has been able to turn donations into aid almost immediately.
Michael Chobanian, founder of the Kuna Exchange and president of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine, told the Senate Banking Committee that crypto sent to the relief campaign’s wallet addresses was used to secure humanitarian aid shortly after it was received.
His appearance highlighted a positive side of crypto after a long period where digital assets have mostly drawn criticism on Capitol Hill. The highlight on crypto’s contributions to Ukraine relief could help shape lawmakers’ views as Washington’s focus on crypto regulation intensifies.
“The minute the crypto landed on these addresses, the government could use them immediately,” Chobanian said. “No bureaucracy. We spent that immediately the next day.”
The campaign has already raised more than $50 million, and is aiming to reach $100 million, Chobanian said.
Chobanian noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday legalized crypto in the country.
“I see that you are still discussing whether to ban or allow crypto in [the] U.S.,” he said. “I invite all U.S. companies to come to Ukraine and open up there. You can use Ukraine as a sandbox.”
Crypto, he said, “will basically change the world.” Blockchain “will be the technology that we’re going to use to rebuild my country,” Chobanian said.