The Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra raised $900,000 by auctioning off the competition's glass microphone trophy, with the money being sent to a foundation that supports Ukraine during its conflict with Russia.
The winning bid for the trophy was attributed to cryptocurrency exchange WhiteBit and came in the form of 500 Ethereum (ETH). In addition to the physical crystal microphone, the winner also gets a non-fungible token (NFT) featuring the trophy.
“You guys are amazing. We appreciate each and every one of you who donated to this auction and a special thanks to the team WhiteBit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now the rightful owners of our trophy,” the band wrote on Facebook.
The recently-opened NFT Museum “Meta History: Museum of War” in Ukraine, which hosted the auction on its platform, took to Twitter to describe the auction as “a victory” for both Ukraine and the world of crypto.
The auction participants had the option to place bids both in crypto and fiat, with fiat bids directed via Ukraine's virtual bank Monobank.
A further $370,000 in fiat was raised by raffling off the pink bucket hat that Kalush Orchestra’s frontman Oleh Psiuk wore during the performance of their song “Stefania” in Turin.
According to the band, the money raised through the auction will go toward buying three drones and a control center for the needs of the Ukrainian forces through the charitable fund of Serhiy Prytula, the popular Ukrainian TV presenter.
Millions in crypto donations
Ukraine turned to crypto donations immediately after Russia invaded the country at the end of February, raising $63.8 million by March 11, according to blockchain forensic company Elliptic.
A total of more than 120,000 contributions, including a $5.8 million donation by Polkadot founder Gavin Wood and a single transaction worth $1.86 million, linked to the proceeds of the sale of the NFT collection "Censored" created by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and digital artist Pak.
Another notable donation came in the form of CryptoPunk NFT #5364, worth over $200,000.
The $63.8 million referred to by Elliptic may have been a conservative estimate, though, as Bornyakov suggested the total amount of cryptocurrency donated was “close to $100 million.”
Ukraine plans more crypto aid efforts
The crypto donations Ukraine has been receiving may have aided the country’s fight against Russia, but Ukrainian President Zelensky recently said the country is seeking more financial aid to cover the country’s monthly budget deficit of around $5 billion.
Recently, Ukraine-based staking provider Everstake, which is also supporting "The Aid for Ukraine" fund, released a rap video called "Invest in Peace, Bro," urging the crypto community to continue their support. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, presented the video last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“Peace comes at a price, but the first wave of donations have subsided. Cryptocurrencies are free from red-tape hurdles, which makes them the most efficient way to provide fast help,” Everstake CEO and co-founder Sergey Vasylchuk told Tech.eu.
According to Vasylchuk, “every crypto contribution, no matter big or small, is another nail in the coffin of totalitarianism.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine's largest independent beer brand, Obolon, announced the sale of an NFT collection “Brewing NFTs for Water” to help distribute free water among war-affected communities.
Each NFT will provide hundreds of liters of bottled water to people in dire need. A part of the proceedings will be also transferred to the Come Back Alive foundation, another Ukrainian entity involved in collecting donations.
Obolon plans to sell 5,000 NFTs for 0.1 ETH (around $197 at current prices), which can be exchanged for a commemorative beer bottle once the war is over.
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