The second crypto exchange in the world, FTX, collapsed taking down several companies in the fallout. The contagion negatively impacts companies, projects, and hedge funds and could have consequences for political actors in the U.S. and abroad.
Across social media, there are rumors about FTX and its founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, using the platform to funnel money to politicians in the United States. This scheme and rumors tarnish efforts to help Ukraine in the war against Russia.
In March 2022, a few days after Russia invaded Ukraine, crypto exchange FTX and Kuna, along with blockchain company Everstake, launched the Aid For Ukraine initiative, a non-profit organization created to raise funds for the war efforts. Is the fundraising platform being used for a dark purpose?
Did FTX Used Aid To Ukraine Funds To Push Its Agenda?
The CEO of Everstake and Co-Founder of Aid For Ukraine, Sergey Vasylchuk, addressed the rumors. The executive claims mainstream media and social media platform accounts are part of a “propaganda” campaign.
Russia launched this alleged campaign to discourage further donations to Ukraine by implicating the country and the non-profit in a fraudulent scheme, according to Everstake’s CEO. Vasylchuk denied that Aid For Ukraine transferred funds to the U.S. democratic party.
The co-founder of Aid For Ukraine claims FTX only had a small participation in the non-profit as a crypto-to-fiat off-ramp. The Ukrainian government put the $60 million funds raised by the non-profit to use by allegedly purchasing humanitarian aid and military equipment.
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister supports the non-profit, and the Minister of Digital Transformation supports the non-profit. Representatives from these entities confirmed Vasylchuk’s claims.
With $54 M raised by @_AidForUkraine, we’ve supplied our defenders with military equipment, armor clothes, medicines and even vehicles. Thanks to the crypto community for support since the start of the full-scale invasion! Donation by donation to the big victory. Report below. pic.twitter.com/lifHAP8R4f
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) August 17, 2022
In a short interview with Bitcoinist, Vasylchuk denied any connection between FTX customers’ funds and donations to Ukraine. In addition, he denies that the non-profit organization is entangled in the failed crypto exchange’s “fraud and corruption schemes in any capacity.” Vasylchuk added:
(…) It all bears the traits typical of russian propaganda aimed at disrupting trust between allies and thwarting Western aid to Ukraine. Moreover, the cooperation between the Ministry of Digital Transformation and FTX was not nearly as close as some claim. Aid For Ukraine used the cryptocurrency exchange FTX solely to convert crypto donations into fiat a few times in the early days of March. The National Bank of Ukraine has confirmed that it has received all the donations on its official Twitter account. That’s all there is to it.
The crypto donations to Ukraine received by the non-profit came from “large companies,” Vasylchuk explained, blockchain-based projects, and the average users. As Bitcoinist reported, Polkadot, Kusama, Ethereum, and others publicly donated money via representatives or foundations.
Vasylchuk concluded with the following, emphasizing the transparency of blockchain transactions:
(…) Aid For Ukraine got donations from Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Polkadot, Kusama, Ethereum, Parity, and Web3 Foundation ($5m) and Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum ($2.4m). Since it’s blockchain, anyone can trace those transactions and confirm their sources and recipients.
Every day, the bankruptcy process reveals more details about FTX, its former CEO, and how he handled users’ and corporate funds. In an interview with VOX, Sam Bankman-Fried admitted that his altruist and humanitarian causes were part of a marketing campaign.