Belarus: Crypto Exchange does not want to betray people to government

The founder of the Kuna declared that the stock exchange does not support violence and refusal of dialogue.

The Ukrainian crypto exchange refuses to provide personal information about individuals who could potentially be branded dissidents by the Belarusian government.

According to a Facebook post by Belarus Solidarity Foundation founder Andrei Stryzhak on 5 October, Kuna has stated that the exchange will not comply with the official request. She had received this request on 30 September from the FDI Financial Investigation Department under the Committee for State Control of the country.

The department requested personal information about Belarusian citizens who had received funds through BYSOL. It was suggested that these people may have been involved in the nationwide protests sometime in the last two months. The organisation helped to collect crypto donations for these people who lost their jobs or suffered other financial hardships due to their participation in the protests.

Because the fund is registered outside Belarus, it can transfer crypto directly to individuals without significant government interference. Kuna founder Mikhail Chobanyan, who is from Ukraine, is said to have not only told Stryshak that he would reject the FDI request, but also openly expressed his support for “the brotherly Belarusian people”.

“The mission of KUNA is an open and decentralised financial system”, said Mr. Chobanyan. “That is why we support all those who help us and are willing to use our support. We do not support violence, nor when someone is not willing to engage in dialogue with the enemy, just like any civilised people”.

On 9 August, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko declared his victory over the opposition candidate Svyatlana Zikhanouskaya with over 80 percent of the vote. However, many officials inside and outside the country questioned the election results. The protests called for Lukashenko’s resignation because he was not a legitimate president.

BYSOL is a non-profit organisation that was founded in August. It gave away Bitcoin (BTC) to help all those “who were oppressed or lost their jobs because of participation in strikes or peaceful protests in Belarus” and “government and police officers who left their posts in protest”, according to the Kuna donation page.

The fund was established by a group of activists and entrepreneurs. The fund claims to have collected a total of $2.1 million in donations and distributed more than $1.3 million to 1,579 people.

“I understand that I cannot travel to Belarus,” said the Kuna founder. “But my conscience is clear.”

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