What is the cryptocurrency sent by the UN to Ukraine?

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In Ukraine, an emergency plan signed by the United Nations is preparing to send crypto-currencies to displaced populations. The goal, to allow the people concerned not to risk losing or having large sums of cash stolen.

They will be able to withdraw their crypto-currencies via a withdrawal system on the MoneyGram network, an American company specializing in fund transfers. It has 4,500 terminals in Ukraine. The United Nations Refugee Agency will be responsible for sending the funds and will take advantage of the advantages of cryptography for this.

USDC, the cryptocurrency used by the UN

The UN has used the Stellar blockchain, but it will be USDC which will pass from its accounts to the Ukrainian refugees. The USDC is a stablecoin whose price is indexed to that of the dollar. It is managed by a consortium called Center, founded by Circle, of American origin and of which the Coinbase crypto-currency exchange platform is a shareholder.

In December 2022, with the collapse of cryptocurrencies following the bankruptcy of FTX, the two major stablecoins represent a significant share of the overall capitalization of the cryptocurrency sector. Tether, in the lead (3rd largest cryptocurrency), weighs in at $62 billion. The USD Coin (USDC) is close behind, in fourth place, at $42 billion.

stablecoin december 2022

© CoinMarketCap

The program wants refugees to be able to withdraw funds for free on the MoneyGram network, in dollars, euros or another currency. To forestall criticism that will recall that the UN criticized cryptocurrencies four months ago, the UN refugee agency commented:

“UNHCR has worked for years with the technology sector, which has played a crucial role in helping us innovate to deliver assistance faster, because speed is essential in humanitarian action.”

In April, the UN called for curbing the use of crypto-currencies. At its United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), it listed the dark points of the rise of virtual tokens, of course mentioning their possible use for money laundering, tax evasion, and “social costs”.

Humanitarian aid in cryptocurrencies

Ukraine’s record quickly topped all others on the use of cryptocurrencies in humanitarian aid. A few weeks after the start of the war, on February 24, the Ukrainian government said it had exceeded the equivalent of 100 million euros in cryptocurrency aid. A level of donation never reached, but which in many cases led to difficulties: how to use these crypto-currencies on a daily basis?

Cryptocurrency exchange platforms also sought to lend a hand. An opportunity to promote their brand and the adoption of crypto-currencies above all. FTX, the bankrupt platform of Sam Bankman-Fried (who has just been arrested in the Bahamas), for example, offered 25 dollars to each Ukrainian member of the platform. Same thing on the Binance side in April.

To finish on the UN and its aid plan, the press release published for the occasion indicated that the shipment to Ukraine was a test phase. Not that it would be temporary, but that if it worked well, then could it also be deployed in the other emergency assistance plans of the United Nations Refugee Agency. The USDC always at the heart of the process.

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