With Ukrainian cities being destroyed in Russia’s invasion, the country’s blockchain community has embarked on a mission to save their cultural heritage using NFT technology.
This weekend, at the Consensus 2022 event held by CoinDesk in Austin, Texas, the President of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine Michael Chobanian announced a new blockchain-based project designed to help the war-devastated Ukraine to preserve its cultural heritage.
Saying “No” to the Destruction of History
Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy claims that, since the start of the invasion, 242 cultural heritage sites and objects have been damaged or destroyed. Russia holds the blame for the damage done to the Yar Holocaust Memorial, and the destruction of cultural centers such as the Mariupol Museum and the Makarivska Public Library in Kyiv, which were home to valuable, unique art and literature.
UNESCO verified that 110 sites have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war, consisting of 48 religious sites, 10 museums, 22 historic buildings, 11 buildings dedicated to cultural activities, 13 monuments, and six libraries.
The widespread damage is of grave concern to experts, who have warned that such sites are being deliberately targeted in order to compromise Ukraine’s identity. At Consensus 2022, Chobanian expressed the same notion that Putin’s regime is deliberately trying to delete the Ukrainian identity by destroying its 1000-years-old heritage. After all, the destruction of a country’s history is a tried and tested way to enforce propaganda.
“Today, we are announcing a new project aimed at how we can save the DNA of the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian culture, and Ukrainian history. Right now, they are bombing museums, churches, and cultural sites. So before they are destroyed… we’re going to digitize every single piece of art or history that we have in museums. We’re going to NFT it and put it on the blockchain,” Chobanian expressed powerfully.
The new project will use blockchain to provide a digital window into Ukraine’s cultural DNA. Chobanian claims that this will be a national-level project, including partnering institutions. The team plans to digitize every item and site with cultural heritage, mint them as NFTs, and store them permanently on the blockchain.
The technology prevents information from being deleted, and has the additional benefit of allowing one to see all the items in one place. Chobanian believes that this will not only help save the country’s rich heritage from destruction, but it will also enable Ukrainian citizens to better access their history and culture. As many artifacts remain behind closed doors in a museum basement, their digitization could provide broader access to Ukraine’s cultural legacy.
Crypto Fighting the Good Fight
Since the war broke out in February, members of the crypto community worldwide have actively offered support for Ukraine, and in mid-May, the besieged country had reportedly raised over $135 million USD in crypto from donations worldwide.