Metro Weekly

Pussy Riot member sells NFT to aid the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Nadya Tolokonnikova's Ukrainian flag NFT sold for a whopping $6.7 million, the proceeds of which will go to Come Back Alive.

Pussy Riot – Photo: Neil Krug

The world is watching in horror as Russia invades Ukraine, with one of the largest armies on the planet killing innocent citizens and destroying countless buildings and homes with each passing day. While governments impose financial sanctions aimed at hurting the aggressor’s leader and its wealthy ruling class, many ordinary people feel hopeless.

Now, a Russian musician known around the globe for political activism has utilized her platform and popularity to raise millions for the Ukrainian defense — and she did so using a sexy new technology that ensures the money is going where it’s needed without delay.

Nadya Tolokonnikova, one of the members of Russian rock band Pussy Riot, set up an organization named UkraineDAO in order to sell an NFT for a good cause.

The digital-only artwork sold for a whopping $6.7 million, and all the proceeds are going to Come Back Alive, a non-profit that was founded in 2014 and that calls itself “the largest foundation providing support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

In just three days, as many as 3,200 individual donors spent digital cryptocurrency to own some of the NFT, which was nothing more than an image of the Ukrainian flag. Those who handed over some of their online-only money will be able to claim a portion of the NFT, which will be split proportionally according to who spent how much.

Dictionary.com defines an NFT, or a non-fungible token, as a “digital asset that has a unique identity recorded in a database.” Put simply, the helpful online outlet also describes the relatively new technology as a “special bit of Internet content that has a ‘record’ that allows its ownership to be tracked as it is traded from person to person.”

In a statement partially shared by CNN, Tolokonnikova explained the thought behind selling an NFT, and deciding to stick with the Ukrainian flag: “We purposefully avoided adding our own art to this release; in a way it’s our strong conceptual artistic statement.… People can have different aesthetics, but it’s not about what color we prefer, it’s about uniting to save lives.”

Since forming in 2011 in Moscow, Pussy Riot has gained international notoriety for not only their music, but also their political activism. The collective of female artists is known for protesting against various religious organizations, supporting LGBTQ causes and, perhaps most notably, fighting against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They are known for wearing colorful ski masks and recording punk rock tunes, and have been despised by Putin and his regime for more than a decade now.

The Ukrainian government recently took to its official Twitter account to ask for donations in the form of cryptocurrency. Since then, CNN reports that a company that is tracking how much the country is receiving in digital monies claims the European nation has already taken in $47 million from tens of thousands of transactions.

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