The Unchain Fund
Unchain Fund is a Ukrainian project facilitating direct humanitarian assistance to people by means of cryptocurrency. Founded in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the project accepts donations in cryptocurrency and distributes them directly to families, volunteers, organizations, and medical institutions in Ukraine, with a focus on the areas where hostilities are most intense. Among their technological innovations is the Unchain Help Card -- “the first charitable cryptocurrency card.” Issued in partnership with the Ukrainian cryptocurrency card start-up Weld Money alongside Unex Bank, the card can be used for everyday payments and cash withdrawals. The charity selects donation recipients according to its 10 principles and allocates funds via a multi-signature process in cryptocurrency and fiat. To guarantee transparency, fund allocation details are available on the Unchain Fund website, and the organization is audited by the leading global accounting network Crowe Global. The charity is run by a community of 3,000+ individual contributors and volunteers active in Ukraine and across the globe, and it operates donation wallets across multiple protocols.
Theory of Change
Harnessing the speed and decentralized nature of blockchain technology facilitates efficient distribution of aid directly to people in need and helps grow cross-border solidarity.
Donations can be in one of 14 blockchain currencies, and are stored in a multisignature wallet. The project fields applications through a Telegram bot and funds food, medicine, psychological support, migration, military equipment except weapons, and more. Both families and organizations can receive funds; among families, the project prioritizes single mothers with newborn babies, families with children under 6, and families who live in regions where intense hostilities are taking place. Only once a majority of the members of the wallet sign off are the funds transferred, an added security measure. The project verifies the applicant’s identity through the Ukrainian Bureau of Credit Histories, and, if that step is successful, a financial manager from the team distributes the funds. Recipients can download their digital card to a Google Pay or Apple Pay wallet or use it through the Unex Bank app for everyday payments and cash withdrawals. Recipients are asked to provide proof in the form of a receipt, photo, or video, which is then added to the project's public reports on allocated funds.
As of mid-April 2022, the project has raised almost $10 million USD and donated over $7 million USD. Of those funds, 59% have gone to volunteers, 36% to organizations, and 8% to funds, medical centers, and headquarters. The project’s Unchain Help Cards were highly in demand after they were launched in early April, prompting tens of thousands of applications, of which over 5,000 have been fulfilled. An example of the initiatives funded by Unchain is the food distribution project in the Black Sea city Mykolaiv, organized by a resident after her women’s clothing store was bombed. Unchain Fund has also bought an X-ray machine for the Kyiv Regional Children's Clinic in order to help them operate on children with bomb fragments.