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Crypto’s War Test Leaves Future of Money Debate Wide Open

The sector’s performance since Russia’s invasion has showcased digital assets’ uses and limitations, while reinforcing crypto’s divergent narratives.

Crypto has played a part in the events that have unfolded since Russia’s invasion, but its role is still unsettled.

Crypto has played a part in the events that have unfolded since Russia’s invasion, but its role is still unsettled.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg
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Crypto had already been seeping into every corner of culture and conversation. Then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and crypto went to war, too.

The sector’s involvement in the war has showcased the development and maturity of digital assets while reviving — without resolving — the debate about their role in the global financial system. As Russia invaded Ukraine, the world participated real-time in the financing of a standing army with cryptocurrency donations that funded military supplies for Ukraine. Digital currencies lived up to their reputation for easily moving money across international borders but simultaneously set off a debate about whether they can be used to evade sanctions.