Ukrainian Refugee Explains How Bitcoin Ensured his Freedom

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  • A Ukrainian refugee has told CNBC how Bitcoin helped him escape the conflict
  • Fadey told the outlet how only Bitcoin still worked after bank accounts were frozen
  • He managed to escape the country by selling some and keeping the rest on a thumb drive

There is a saying associated with the Bitcoin community, ‘Bitcoin is freedom’, and a Ukrainian refugee has proved just how literally accurate that saying is. The refugee, who managed to escape the conflict in his home town of Lviv thanks to his Bitcoin holdings, told CNBC under a pseudonym how access to his bank account was frozen the day Russia invaded Ukraine and how his only escape was his Bitcoin holdings, which helped him get out of the country.

Bank Accounts Frozen and Limits on Cash Withdrawals

The refugee, Fadey, told CNBC how it didn’t take long for queues to withdraw cash from ATMs to start forming after news of the invasion broke, and soon they were too long for him to wait. Reports since have talked about the experiences of those who did try to take out cash this way, with many standing in line for hours only to face a $33 limit per transaction or for the machines to have run out of cash.

Transferring money out of bank accounts proved equally fruitless for Fadey after the central bank suspended such transfers on the day of the invasion. Fadey turned to his Bitcoin stash, selling $600 worth to a friend which he used to get a bus out of the country and to acquire shelter for the night in Poland, selling more along the way as he sought more permanent lodgings in the country and potentially a new life there.

The rest of his bitcoin, which equated to almost half his life savings, was stored on a thumb drive, with his cash reserves still frozen in his bank account.

Fadey’s Story Highlights Benefits of Bitcoin

Fadey’s story is a perfect example of the beauty of Bitcoin’s decentralized design, with the fact that only the holder can control it being of paramount importance in instances such as this.

Sadly, stories like Fadey’s rarely make it to the outside world, giving people a skewed vision of Bitcoin that could easily be reversed if they were more widely known about.