On 7 November 2022, the Human Rights Foundation and Block, Inc. organised an online event as part of the Currency of Freedom campaign. The campaign aimed to interview human rights defenders and activists from different countries around the world to share their stories about why they chose to use Bitcoin in their humanitarian work.
Ukraine and Poland were represented by Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of the Open Dialogue Foundation, who talked about how Bitcoin helps her support human rights, rule of law and democracy, and to efficiently organise humanitarian aid. The talk was moderated by the leader of cryptocurrency operations at Cash App, Laurence Aderemi.
After briefly outlining ODF’s activities in the sphere of defending human rights and democracy, Lyudmyla Kozlovska talked about the path she and the Foundation took to decide to use Bitcoin to advance their mission. “In 2017, we took a stand in defence of the rule of law in Poland. In doing so, we were met with persecution in the form of a disinformation campaign by the Polish government along with the regimes of Kazakhstan and Moldova under Plahotniuc, which we were criticising at the time. The Polish government orchestrated numerous attempts to close down or paralyse our Foundation and organised a slanderous PR campaign against us both in Poland and internationally,” she explained.
The head of ODF stressed that she faced financial exclusion in the heart of Europe — in democratic Belgium. The Foundation was considered a high-risk client, which resulted in the closure of ODF’s bank accounts and the personal accounts of its executives. “It was a total paralysis of our business. That’s when Bitcoin proved to be our salvation,” she added.
According to Kozlovska, one can confidently say that cryptocurrency saves lives. As an example, she cited the situation in February 2022, when, thanks to the speed of transactions, the Foundation was able to purchase and transfer hundreds of units of life-saving equipment for military personnel in Ukraine just two days after the Russian military invasion. “The European and international financial system in those first days was paralysed; people did not know how to transact with Ukraine. That’s why I like to say that Ukraine is saved first and foremost by its courageous defenders, but also by Bitcoin,” she stressed.
We encourage you to watch the entire conversation:
- Why should human rights defenders be protected from AML/CFT abuses by authoritarian authorities? (December 11, 2023)
- ”Bitcoin is borderless” Conference — how to combat financial exclusion worldwide? (October 15, 2023)
- How Bitcoin became a tool for NGOs — an interview with Lyudmyla Kozlovska (October 6, 2023)
- Showing Humanitarian Face of Bitcoin at Central Bankers’ Forum (June 13, 2023)
- Bitcoin the basis for freedom: panel discussion at BTC Prague conference (June 8, 2023)
- “Bitcoin as a tool for financial freedom” — Lyudmyla Kozlovska at Plan ₿ Forum 2022 (October 22, 2022)
Cover photo: Block, Inc. / YouTube