February 24, 2022 – Just after 5:00 a.m.
After being granted a request to use military forces, Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in an act of war that shocked the world. By using planes, tanks, and soldiers, he once again exposed his warmongering self in an unforgivable act of violence for the only prize he’s ever pursued: power. The five-letter word that drives a man to send children to die, fighting in a foreign land for a prize they’ll never see nor know.
Let me take a minute to provide a brief disclaimer. We are a crypto, blockchain, and NFT focused publication that strives to report the news, the truth, and the juicy gossip every week. This is our lane. However, when the world shakes, so does our road. There are many benefits to decentralization, and the ascension of artists through NFTs is well documented, but both can become weapons against authoritative regimes and warmongering criminals. In fact, they must.
State of the World at War
War isn’t anything new. It’s not ever going to become anything old either, and for both the Ukrainian and Russian people, it’s now a daily part of life. I say the Russian people as well because, even though they did not get invaded, Ukrainians fight like hell, and plenty of Russian soldiers are going to die for Putin’s psychotic charade. They’re not the only ones.
Not including the Ukrainian/Russian conflict, there are 21 wars happening right now. In last week’s article, I shared a list of the top 20 countries in NFT adoption. Two of those countries (Nigeria and Columbia) are at war. At some point in time, war has been waged on every continent except for Antarctica, but as climate change rears its ugly ozone-sized hole, it won’t be long until that land is fought over as well.
It also doesn’t have to be a war to be oppressive. Authoritative regimes are just as eager for power as the war-hungry jingoists we compare them to. Prior to COVID, everyone may remember Hong Kong was at the center of attention for its protests to China’s extradition bill. Those protests quickly turned into a demonstration of police brutality. So what is there to do about it? How do you fight against a powerful enemy who wants to use violence against you?
Do what Bruce Lee did, what the Hong Kong protestors did, and be water. Water is fluid. It’s very difficult to capture and control, and with enough water, you can do quite a bit of damage to just about anything. Be amorphous. Be shapeless. In other words, be decentralized.
The decentralization of financial systems is the newest weapon we have in the fight against the war machine. The decentralization of financial systems, i.e., cryptocurrency, has been a big source of funding for the Ukrainian military recently. At the time of this writing, over 130 BTC has been sent to their aid, including 3 million USD from one anonymous source. If you’ve got some extra liquidity to spare and would like to help out the Ukrainian army and people, you can do so here and here. If you don’t have extra liquidity, you and I got a lot in common, but there’s something else we can do to help the anti-war effort.
Make Great Art
Art always has and forever will be the most formidable enemy to those who crave power. Graffiti art helped fuel the Arab spring by communicating to citizens what their local media would not. Anime art helped encourage the citizens of Hong Kong to stand together in the face of relentless brutality. After 13 soldiers from Snake Island told a Russian warship to go fuck itself, images of art inspired by their story are encouraging millions around the globe to empathize with their struggles. Artists from around the world are using their talents to reach the Russian people and eventually the Russian government, hoping that enough pressure will get Putin to stop.
Art doesn’t have to be illustration, it can be platform. The infamous punk rock protest group Pussy Riot formed UkraineDAO along with PleasrDAO, Trippy Labs, and NFT studio to raise money for Ukrainians in need. Famous NFT collector @CozomoMedici is focusing on buying specifically from Ukrainian artists and is auctioning off pieces to raise money. @sxtvik, @andrwwang, and dozens of other artists have all teamed up together to create RELI3F, a web3 initiative aimed at providing global aid. Even various Russian artists are using their platforms in an attempt to reach Putin.
What is this all for? Why is this important? The art that is created today will be used to remember what happened here for years to come, especially if it’s minted on a blockchain. It will forever tell the story in a way that no other art in no other conflict could. It will serve as a constant reminder that we live in a highly digital and visible age, and the whole world is minting.
Water is Life
Of course, there is so much more to this fight than NFTs, and Ukrainians running for their lives have far more important things to worry about than pumping out art. That’s the real sadness in all of this is that there isn’t a right way to respond to something so despicable. We’re all looking around in our own little worlds, wondering how we can help, and yet feeling so helpless to be able to do anything at all.
All we can really do is keep building towards a better future every way we can. Whether that future is web3 or beyond, a metaverse or multi-metaverse, whatever it may be, we have to ensure that decentralization is key. If we don’t, whoever is the strongest person in the room will control the game. If we stay decentralized, stay water, we’ll always be too slippery for those who crave control.