Crypto founders exploit Ukraine’s pleas for cash to shill their tokens

Justin Sun is melting down on Twitter over what he sees as "unjust" treatment of TRON crypto holders by Ukraine's government.

Crypto entrepreneurs have been holding back contributions to Ukraine’s ongoing defense effort until the country agrees to set up wallets tailored to their own tokens.

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian government tweeted wallet addresses in a plea for Bitcoin, Ether, and Tether (USDT). 

On Tuesday, Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood finally forked over the $5 million he promised via Twitter, but only after the Ukrainian government set up a Polkadot wallet to receive his spin-off cryptocurrency DOT.

Likewise, VeChain’s Sunny Lu promised to donate $8 million in the network’s native token if Ukraine agreed to accept the funds via his blockchain.

Blockchain analytics unit Elliptic noted on Monday:

  • 42.2% of funds received were in Bitcoin.
  • 38.3% of donations were in Ether.
  • 19.4% was made up of other tokens and stablecoins.

With regards to Wood’s seemingly generous gesture, Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko rightly pointed out that if Polkadot’s fonder really wanted to donate, he could “just fucking swap on FTX or use a bridge.”

By Tuesday, the Ukrainian government had bowed to his request and added Polkadot to its list of accepted cryptocurrencies. It also noted that support for other tokens was on the way. 

Indeed, Wood’s move had the likely desired effect. Media outlets were quick to throw the controversial English coder in altruistic headlines — alongside his Polkadot cryptocurrency.

So far, Ukraine’s Polkadot address has received over 328,000 DOT ($6.24 million), with Wood’s 298,367 DOT ($5.7 million) donation making up 90% of those funds.

Wood’s donations made up 15% of all crypto contributed (roughly $30 million) to official Ukrainian addresses as of Wednesday morning.

Ukraine to reward crypto donors with airdrop

TRON founder Justin Sun, who recently left the project to pursue diplomacy in Grenada, last week pledged $1 million “if you [Ukraine’s official Twitter account] posted a TRX address.”

Sun then sent an “initial donation” of $200,000 worth of Tether (USDT) from his crypto exchange account on Poloniex. It’s unclear whether he’s sent the remaining $800,000 at press time.

“As you know, TRON is a fast growing blockchain with [80 million] global users and we will rally support from our community for Ukraine!” said Sun.

“It will be great if you can open TRX token donation support as well.”

The looming spectre of World War III won’t deter Justin Sun from tweeting marketing nonsense to the Ukrainian government.

If crypto-crowdfunding military defense and other critical supplies weren’t cyberpunk enough, Ukraine is now prepping to actually distribute tokens in a bid to drum up more donations.

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Twitter account posted word of an upcoming airdrop. Crypto projects typically run airdrops to reward early investors with additional tokens.

In this case, Ukraine hopes to inspire more addresses to donate by promising to reward them with an undisclosed prize.

While there was initial confusion as to whether this referred to real-world supplies or a token distribution round, the government later confirmed that a “[s]napshot will be taken tomorrow, on March 3, at 6pm Kyiv time.

This implies that addresses which donate cryptocurrency to Ukraine will receive a free token airdrop in return. Exactly which kind of token (an NFT?) hasn’t yet been disclosed, with the account simply saying: “Reward to follow!”

Justin Sun says Ukraine’s treatment of TRON holders is ‘UNJUST!’

However, the news hasn’t gone down well with everybody. Sun has already voiced his displeasure at the idea the drop may not include his token, because while Ukraine accepts USDT via TRON, it still doesn’t accept TRX.

In fact, Sun has so far sent six tweets to @Ukraine and the personal Twitter account of Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov to demand confirmation that those who donated crypto via the TRON network would receive the airdrop.

Sun wrote: “Answering to the humanitarian appeal from [Federov], TRON community has donated over [$1.2 million] in USDT (TRC20), but now the airdrop just ignores them completely. It is just UNFAIR. We need to fix it!”

“It is not a matter of expecting a return but if an airdrop is going to all that donated and excluding TRON is UNJUST!”

Read more: [Kraken CEO: Exchange must ban US traders if it freezes Russian accounts]

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian government spokesman told Sky News that donated crypto will be used “to destroy as many Russian soldiers as we can.”

With this in mind, the spectacle of a nation state running an airdrop in the midst of bloody conflict echoes something of a techno-war bond.

All while shameless crypto insiders — under the guise of philanthropy — exploit Ukraine during one of the most dire moments in modern history. For brand marketing.

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