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Crypto Refugees Fleeing Ukraine Find a Haven in Bitcoin-Friendly Portugal

Favorable tax treatment for digital assets and balmy weather had already made Portugal a crypto hub. Now for many fleeing Russia’s invasion, it’s a place to start over.

Crypto advertising adorns an electric tram in Lisbon. 

Crypto advertising adorns an electric tram in Lisbon. 

Photographer: Goncalo Fonseca/Bloomberg

Maria Yarotska drove for six days across Europe in a Fiat with her mother, daughter and dog to escape the war in Ukraine, ending her journey in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Yet unlike the thousands of refugees who made the 2,500-mile road trip to continental Europe’s westernmost country, she will still be able to keep her job.

That’s because the 35-year-old’s employer — a blockchain effort called NEAR with a Ukrainian co-founder — is expanding its presence in Portugal and has become a supporter of refugees fleeing the war.