Ukrainian Refugees Are Turning to the Lightning Network to Obtain Funds2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Alena Vorobiova is a Ukrainian immigrant who says that bitcoin is a true savior. She recently had crypto transferred from the United States to her phone in Poland through what’s known as the Lightning Network. She received it very quickly, which proved useful given the lack of electronic banking in the area now that Russia has allegedly invaded Ukraine.
The Lightning Network Is Being Put to Good Use
The battle between Russia and Ukraine has been occurring for the past two months, and sanctions brought on by the United States and many of its allies have not been enough to prevent Russia from continuing its onslaught. Many traditional monetary services and features are not available in regions of eastern Europe, which is why so many people – such as Alena – have turned to bitcoin for help.
The Lightning Network is a system that allows bitcoin transactions – which are known for being relatively slow – to occur at a much faster rate. The Lightning Network allows small transactions to occur off-chain, thereby putting resources and energy to better use. As a result, these transactions tend to go through much faster than those that happen on the BTC network, and the fees are a lot less.
Jeff Czyz – a developer with Jack Dorsey’s crypto team Spiral (previously known as Square Crypto) – explained in a recent interview:
A Lightning wallet app is akin to a bank in that sending money between banks requires them to speak the same language. The Lightning Network consists of nodes connected by payment channels, which are used to forward payments across the network without the need to trust intermediaries.
Chief strategy officer for the Human Rights Foundation Alex Gladstein also threw his two cents in about Lightning, commenting in a statement:
Me sitting in California, I can still send you any amount of money instantly to your phone anytime. We don’t have to worry about the fact that you’re a refugee. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a Polish passport or a bank account. None of these things matter.
Ukraine has accepted more than $50 million in crypto donations since the start of the war. The money is allegedly being used to boost the nation’s military and help soldiers garner the supplies and weapons they need to defend their people.
How It All Works
To obtain the funds she needed, Alena downloaded what’s called the Muun wallet app, which is a custodial wallet for bitcoin and Lightning payments. She created a four-digital pin and established a QR code by generating an invoice. From there, the QR code was scanned, and the money was transferred over in just a matter of minutes.
The transaction fees were less than one cent. She was then able to take the digital currency she had received and transfer it into the native currency of Poland.
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