Is Crypto The Answer In A Time Of War?

I made a bold prediction to my wife a month before the war started. I said the Russians would invade Ukraine on 23 February 2022.

Readers from the former Soviet Union understand the significance of that date–known as Red Army Day or Defenders of the Fatherland Day.

What better way to celebrate than attacking your neighbor?

I was more or less correct. Johnny Russky attacked on 24 February.

My morning on 24 February in our Kyiv flat started with me overhearing my wife on the phone. She was discussing explosions she had heard in the distance. I picked up my phone and checked the news.

The Russians were invading Ukraine.

I told my wife to stop what she was doing and get packing.

Luckily, we were prepared:

  • We had plenty of non-perishable food (flour, cornmeal, etc.)
  • A full tank of petrol (including a filled canister)
  • Plenty of cash
  • A firearm intended to deter anyone who wanted to rob us of the food, gas, and cash
  • We had bought a small country cottage in a forest with plenty of fish and game around
  • An alternative route to the cottage was planned so we knew it would not be congested with traffic

We headed out, got on that alternative road, and made it to the cottage alive with petrol left to spare. But, unfortunately, two weeks after we arrived, the fighting had neared our village, so we drove to Holland, where we are currently billeted with close family friends.

Since then, I have learned several things–many related to digital finance. Here are a few of them.

Your bank account isn’t yours; it’s the bank’s

On day one of the war, depositors figured out cash was handier than credit cards, and bank runs ensued.

In response, banks instituted withdrawal limits. Some shut their doors and turned off ATMs altogether. When a bank’s existence is threatened, they will treat your money as if it is theirs, not yours.

Contrast this with having a crypto wallet that is fully under your control at all times. For individuals seeking to live as sovereign men and women, having some ETH and BTC in your possession is a must.

Why use a bank when you can store your funds in a safe or cold wallet and have greater control over them? With a cold wallet and safe, you can be your own bank.

After all, what is your money doing for you in a savings account? It isn’t gaining interest (not mine anyway), and interest rates for certificates of deposit are low as can be last time I checked.

What’s the point of a bank when your deposit doesn’t appreciate and the bank can block your withdrawal whenever it suits them?

To hell with ‘em I say. Cancel your bank account. Put whatever cash you need on hand in a physical iron safe and convert what you don’t need into stablecoins, and put them in a hard wallet.

But perhaps it will not be enough.

Bitcoin is not going to save you in the middle of a war

I personally know people who hoard Bitcoin because they think it will save them during a nuclear apocalypse. Unfortunately, I have news for those people: it won’t.

In my area of Ukraine, none of the card terminals or internet worked, so I don’t see how anyone could use Bitcoin to buy anything. I’m not saying people should dump their Bitcoin. But be prudent, have a few thousand dollars worth of cash handy.

Editor’s Note:

As many of you know, Ukraine is home for many on our Blockster team. Throughout the last month–in the face of an invasion of their homeland–the bravery they have demonstrated has been truly extraordinary. Likewise, their continued commitment to their day-to-day tasks at Blockster is nothing short of heroic.

William Fleishman’s escape from the Ukraine is a story that needs to be told in much more detail. And someday it will, along with the painful accounts of many at Team Blockster that are currently enduring hostilities that they neither invited or provoked.

Five years ago, I traveled to Kyiv–an amazing experience. The city is beautiful. The people are kind. To all our staff in Ukraine: We appreciate you, now and forever!

May Peace Prevail

Wiliam Laurent, Blockster Editor-in-Chief

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