Ukraine Support
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How The Global Fintech Community is Stepping Up to Support Ukraine

As Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine continues to cause destruction and devastation, financial technology companies around the world have stepped up to assist people in Ukraine or those fleeing from the war-torn country.

Across the fintech and wider technology communuities, a number of brands have established initiatives to help people in Ukraine.

Solana and Everstake

Ukraine-based Web3 company Everstake has teamed up with Solana, the public blockchain platform, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation to launch Aid for Ukraine.

The decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) has raised $1.4million in $SOL to date to help Ukraine cover shortages of military ammunition, food supplies, clothing, medicine and more.

Sergey Vasylchuk, CEO of Everstake and a Ukraine native, said that donations to the DAO would go towards the most urgent needs and that the crypto would be converted to a special account opened by the Central Bank.

Yapily, Token and Volt

Three UK open banking firms Volt, Yapily and Token have partnered to help people make donations to charities supporting Ukraine.

The trio have launched a donation page enabling anyone to make a fee-free, instant payment to organisations including Unicef, the National Bank of Ukraine and the Polish Center of International Aid.

Steffen Vollert, co-founder and chief operating officer at Volt, commented: “This portal is a simple way of securely contributing to victims of this terrible crisis. It ensures donations arrive with the organisations instantly, and that there are no card fees, or SWIFT costs paid by the senders or the beneficiaries. We are working with three causes, so people donating are able to choose where their money goes.”

Zopa Bank

UkraineLondon-based fintech Zopa bank has offered sponsorship of 50 work visas of eligible Ukrainian applicants already in the UK. Applicants must have a background in engineering, technology, and data analytics or experience in consumer financial services.

Zopa will also fast track the assessment and selection of those Ukrainians wanting to join their British national family members in the UK and offer a relocation allowance of one month’s salary.

Jaidev Janardana, CEO at Zopa bank, said: “We have been observing with growing alarm and concern the unfolding of a fully-fledged armed conflict in Ukraine. We are working with the Ukrainian Embassy in London and Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko to facilitate the process andencourage fellow members of our tech and fintech communities to extend their support.”

bunq

Ali Niknam, founder and CEO of digital bank bunq, has joined forces with fellow Dutch tech entrepreneurs Joris Beckers, founder of online supermarket Picnic, and Robert Vis, CEO of omnichannel communications platform MessageBird, to launch The People for People foundation.

The foundation pledges to provide shelter to those affected by the Russia-Ukraine war, including helping to temporarily accommodate refugees in hotels and apartments in Bulgaria and Georgia.

Additionally, bunq is also letting Ukrainian citizens who’ve had to leave their home open a free bunq account to make payments outside Ukraine.

Additional support
  • Canadian credit union Vancity has temporarily waived wire transfer fees to send money to Ukraine. It has also donated $50,000 in total to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and to local Ukrainian organisations in Canada.
  • The Credit Thing, a UK fintech founded by Misha Rogalskiy, co-founder of Monobank, Ukraine’s first mobile-only bank, has added a feature to its app that lets customers make a donation to Ukraine’s efforts.
  • Fintech platform TWINO and investment firm Mintos have joined forces with other Latvian businesses to support fundraising efforts for Ukraine.
  • Fintech Paysera has removed all Visa card issuing fees for its Ukrainian clients. It has also removed commission fee for transfers from Paysera to Ukraine. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Paysera has received more than 500 applications from Ukrainians to open an account.
  • Investment platform Bondora has made a donation to Mondo, an Estonian humanitarian firm that is providing humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Bondora is also providing support to any employees whose families are affected, including relocation support.
  • Innovate Finance, the independent industry body representing the global fintech community in the UK, said it is convening the fintech community to help Ukraine, support the international response as well as support fintech resilience and legal obligations. This coming week, the organisation will hold a session for members to discuss how the fintech community can come together to bring help to those affected by the crisis.
  • The Ukrainian government has raised $56.8million so far, through more than 113,000 cryptoasset donations since the start of the Russian invasion, according to Elliptic, the blockchain analysis provider.
  • True Global Ventures, a technology equity venture capital firm, has donated $200,000 to Unchain Ukraine, a charity project created by blockchain activists.
Restricting services

UkraineA wide-sweeping series of measures have been introduced following the invasion, such as the assets of major Russians frozen.

Legislation also stops major Russian companies and the state from raising finance or borrowing money in some international markets.

In addition, a number of companies are also severing ties or pausing operations in Russia.

 

  • Finnish IT company Tietoevry is exiting Russia – it said the continuation of business in Russia is ‘ethically unsustainable’.
  • Money transfer firms including Revolut, Wise, Remitly, Zepz and TransferGo have either suspended money transfers to Russia or restricted payments.
  • Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network to comply with government sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Technology Academy Finland (TAF) has changed the rules of its prestigious Millennium Technology Prize for 2022 so that a tax resident of Russia or Belarus cannot receive the award.
  • Selected Russian banks have been disconnected from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging system. As a result of the ban, these banks are unable to initiate payment instructions in eligible payment systems nor receive inbound payments in those systems.
Industry expectations

Industry experts predict significant market turbulence as investors across the world attempt to make sense of the developments in Eastern Europe. After the attack on the Ukraine city of Enerhodar and its Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, worries about the potential escalation of the crisis have heightened.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, believes investors have been rattled by the turn of the fighting in Ukraine. She says: “The flight to safety is continuing on the financial markets as investors exit positions they see as more risky, and pile into other asset classes which they hope may offer some more defence against the volatility. With huge uncertainty around how deep the Ukraine conflict could go and what ripple effects there could be in financial markets, crypto assets are likely to continue to be highly volatile.”

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at UK DIY investment platform interactive investor, shares a similar view. She says: “The market was already very volatile at the start of the year, sparked by rising inflation and monetary tightening. Now, with the added uncertainty from Ukraine’s invasion by Russia, markets are likely to remain on edge with strong demand for safe-haven stocks. The imbalance between demand and supply, coupled with geopolitical uncertainty looks set to continue to support an uptrend for oil stocks. Plus, the Ukraine conflict could lead to a surge in cybersecurity attacks from Russian organisations, which in turn may see an upsurge in demand for stocks within the cybersecurity sector.”

While Marcus Sotiriou, analyst at the UK-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock, says many Russians and Ukrainians have turned to Bitcoin to store their wealth since the war broke out, with volume for the Bitcoin Ruble base pair skyrocketing while Bitcoin premium has risen on Ukrainian markets.

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