How Bitcoin Was Needed to Get Reporters out of Ukraine

muh speculation‘ or ‘muh necessitation’?


  • How Journalists used Bitcoin to Escape Ukraine
  • No Fiat to Find
  • ‘Freedom Technology’ Writ Large

How Journalists Used Bitcoin to Escape Ukraine

We often hear bitcoin disparaged for being simply digital gambling chips for artless speculators. However, as bitcoin grows into adulthood, we have seen the asset mature into a tool, and oftentimes a necessary one, to escape the pitfalls of financial institutions.

This notion was proven further in a report that broke today out of Ekstra Bladet, a newspaper based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The remarkable story highlights two Ekstra Bladet journalists stationed in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. As Russian troops approached the city just two hours north of occupied Donetsk, journalists Stefan Weichert and Emil Filtenborg had to escape.

2.24.22, rubble in Kramatorsk, Ukraine

Last evening, two big explosions rocked the city, and civilians were forced to escape or face war. The two journalists were in such dire straits they realized they needed to actually purchase a vehicle to get out. The hang-up? ATMs across Ukraine are overdrawn, inaccessible, or closed; banks are shuttered.

No Fiat To Find

You can see that many people walk around the city to withdraw money. The ATMs are down,” said Emil Filtenborg on Friday morning. So the two journalists turned to the only option left, pay with crypto. In this case, Bitcoin. Because bitcoin’s network is peer-to-peer, immutable, and nonfragile, it is the most viable option in such circumstances. 

They purchased a used Mazda 3 worth 15,000 Norwegian Krone, which is the equivalent of 0.044 BTC at press time. The title of the news in the press is: “had to buy a car with bitcoins.” Far from speculation, bitcoin was more or less life-saving for the two men. 

credit: ekstra bladet

‘Freedom Technology’ Writ Large

The pro-bitcoin folks, all of us, recognize it is a ‘freedom technology.’ Freedom from banks, freedom to custody, and freedom from inflation and corruption. In this case, it was certainly even more than those things–it was freedom from potential death.

As famous bitcoin developer Peter Todd put it, “what I love about this story is how it’s becoming obvious for a reporter in a war zone to carry Bitcoin.” Stories like this show the absolute power of crypto. This is now a reality in Ukraine, and many similar stories are likely to follow.

Think about it. Some guy spinning up a bitcoin miner in his Dallas office and some girl in Amsterdam running a full node in her flat, is the sole reason these reporters were able to escape–no permission required. No lines, no checkpoints, no phone calls, or pleas. Purely self-sovereign.

Bitcoin is more than sound money and gains. It is decentralized, benevolent, human cooperation on a global scale. Now that is powerful.