The Russia invasion of Ukraine is the first crypto war. The digital asset front follows only the actual fighting in importance.
Crypto has been a major focus throughout events, including the Ukraine government’s requests for bitcoin and ether, the Ukraine DAO, both sides’ use of stablecoins as financial refuge, and European and U.S. bureaucrats’ angst over the use of cryptocurrency to bypass sanctions.
Paul H. Jossey is an adjunct fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and founder of the crowdfundinglawyers.com.
However the conflict ends, crypto will play a central role in world affairs. Moreover, the individual autonomy it brings could mean a more peaceful world, provided governments and global standard-setting bodies don’t kill this promise through overreaching regulation or forced public alternatives.
Crypto could give citizens of aggressor countries an informal “citizens veto’ on war. If people flock to stablecoins amid host-country aggression or international sanctions, their actions could crush a nation’s ability to wage war. This veto is now happening as Russians ditch the ruble for stablecoins, and it may thwart Russia’s ability to finance hostile operations.
The Russia invasion could augur a return to the more limited conflicts of the pre-World War I (WWI), gold standard era. As Columbia Professor Saifedean Ammous explains in The Bitcoin Standard, before WWI (also known as the Great War), gold standard countries were limited by popular sentiment (and their own treasuries) to wage war.