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Utilizing Blockchain To Pay For Ukraine’s Reconstruction Efforts

The use of blockchain based finance has entered a new phase of humanitarian help with the establishment of the sunflower painted wrecked houses and cars and Brock Jeffrey Pierce’s vow to purchase.

Trek Thunder Kelly, an American artist who started the project, and Helen Yanko, a Ukrainian artist, have just finished painting six murals of Ukrainian sunflowers in cities around Kyiv that were badly damaged by the Russian occupation.

“I reflected on the situation of my professional and personal network and artists have been one of the most vulnerable groups since the start of the war. As individuals are highly unlikely to pay for art in current times, however artists can offer their time and skills through this missing piece that has now emerged” – Oleksiy Burak, co-creator

Sunflowers have always been very important to the Ukrainian people. Not only do they represent the color of the Ukrainian flag, but they are also the most important crop in the country. Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the largest producer of both sunflower oil and sunflowermeal in the world.

“Traditionally, blockchain has been used in finance for digital payments through cryptocurrencies. As the technology evolves, as people engage with it, new applications of blockchain emerge, that interconnect different actors in the society in ways that are neither obvious nor expected. In research, we name this phenomenon “reframing”, a shift in how a technology is perceived and used. Connecting the need for infrastructure reconstruction with digital art and decentralized finance might be an appealing reframe for blockchain” — Mattia Bianchi, Professor at Stockholm School of Economics.

Painting on walls and cars is not just a way for people in war-torn cities to put a “temporary art based bandage” on their wounds. Using blockchain-based money to pay for humanitarian work is new.

Since Blockchain-based technology is becoming more popular, there is room for new triangulations that seemed impossible not too long ago. With Helium, users can make money by selling their Wi-Fi signal to others. With World Mobile, users can make money by connecting to crowdfunded mobile phone infrastructure in places like Zanzibar. A new frontier has been crossed when technology, artists, and charity organizations work together.

Even though Helium and Worldmobile are very different, users are paid for their participation in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. This changes the way people use cryptocurrency from an asset class to a way to pay for things and use utilities.

Flowers For Hope (FFH) is a project with a unique way of working that its founders hope will be used in other conflict zones. Murals are pieces of graphic art that are painted directly on walls, ceilings, or other structures like a car. The local artists paint Ukrainian national symbols on these murals.

The finished paintings are digitized as NFTs and sold to collectors, investors, people who want to help others, and the general public. At least 80% of the money made from selling these works of art will go back to the artists and a local charity called “Women and War,” which helps people deal with the emotional effects of the war.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) spends up to 19% of its budget on fundraising and administrative costs. FFH tries to keep its administrative costs at the same level. Today, most of the administration costs are paid for by Beatify Earth, which provides the legal framework and handles expensive international transfers, and Roji, which hosts the NFT platform.

“The legal status of NFTs is already as of now a complex question.This project shows how NFTs can be used for a good purpose and how many more levels of complexity that can arise from the already established questions.” – Nicoll Corallius – project advisor.

Once the pilot project is done, it is likely to get bigger and more complicated. In Stockholm, where the project started as a free collaboration between Kelly, Swedish executives, a paint company, and members of the Polish Startup Community who live there, the Polish Ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Joanna Hofman, sees another possible angle: the project could take place not only in Ukraine but also in other countries nearby.

She thinks that Ukrainian artists could paint murals in Paris, Brussels, or other European capitals to help with reconstruction and make sure that people don’t get tired of war because gas and oil prices are going up.

Trek Kelly thinks it would be good to work with outside partners who could help the NFTs in real ways. For example, the charitable community could be given more reasons to sign up for services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, which would make the project more well-known.

Kelly wants to create a platform that brings together art collectors, local Ukrainian NGOs, and artists to help people in need in Ukraine. The details will be worked out after the pilot project is finished and evaluated.

The Municipality of Irpin has already said that artists who want to try out the idea can use more walls. With the goal of “positive reframing” by combining blockchain-based finance and humanitarian aid, the project is made to be able to be repeated in nearby jurisdictions under the same umbrella organizations. But one of the best things about a decentralized umbrella organization is that the project can be done again even without the above-mentioned core team members.

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