Pussy Riot Founder, Trippy Labs, PleasrDAO Members Launch Ukraine DAO

Crypto Twitter is mobilizing to raise money for Ukraine—using Ethereum NFTs.

3 min read
Nadya Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot) during a 2014 Peace march in support of Ukraine. Image: Shutterstock

In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, crypto users have taken it upon themselves to raise money in support of the beleaguered nation. To that end, decentralized autonomous organizations, better known as DAOs, are spinning up to help those hurt by the invasion.

Political activist and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nadya Tolokonnikova, better known as a founding member of "conceptual protest art group" Pussy Riot, announced Ukraine DAO via Twitter today, alongside Trippy Labs and members of PleasrDAO.

"Our goal is to raise funds to donate to Ukrainian civilian organizations who help those suffering from the war that Putin started in Ukraine," Pussy Riot tweeted. "We'll be buying an NFT of the Ukrainian flag."

Tolokonnikova tells Decrypt she pushed for using the Ukrainian flag "because it's not about any specific artists or aesthetics—it's about something much bigger than all of us, it's a pure gesture of solidarity."

According to Tolokonnikova, the drop will consist of 10,000 Ukrainian flag NFTs minted on Ethereum, with all proceeds benefiting the Return Alive Foundation and NGO Proliska. In addition, a unique NFT—also of the flag—will be released to allow larger contributors to participate.

The idea for Ukraine DAO came from Alona Shevchenko, a Ukrainian activist living in England. Shevchenko says that she had hoped the Ukraine DAO would not be needed and that tensions in the region would deescalate. "I started reaching out to my friends, and they connected me with Nadya of Pussy Riot and other PleasrDAO people who I knew already."

Shevchenko, who has been involved with decentralized communities since 2020 and works with FreeRossDAO, says she reached out to the community. Twenty people were on a call by that afternoon, ready to help.

"Creating a DAO is a good way to get international and Web3 attention and give the Ukrainian people a voice," Shevchenko says, adding, "This is exactly what DAOs are for, making change offline in the real world harnessing the power of blockchain."

Founded in 2011, Pussy Riot is a feminist punk rock group from Moscow. The group is known for staging pop-up or guerrilla-style performances supporting LGBT rights and opposing Putin.

Trippy Labs is a digital artist and founder of Entopic, who recently worked with SuperRare and FreeRossDAO to curate an NFT collection featuring original art by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. PleasrDAO, meanwhile, is a collective of digital artists and collectors who are acquiring culturally significant art pieces with a charitable twist. The group takes its name from the digital artist, Pplpleasr.

Data analytics site Elliptic reported today that there had been a spike in Bitcoin donations to a pro-military Ukrainian NGO in the last 24 hours. While that organization plans to aid soldiers with weapons and medical aid, Ukraine DAO is using its star power to help the citizens of Ukraine.

"Activism is the only reason I joined Web3," Tolokonnikova says. "Now, when I'm so deeply ashamed of my government, I simply have to try to help Ukrainians."

Editor's note: Additional context has been added to this article.

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