NFT artist leads convoy to rescue 70 refugees from war-torn Ukraine
Last Monday, Spanish artist Aldo Comas, better known as “CryptofuxkBoy” on OpenSea, sat down for a few eggs with his wife, read the paper, and started his car. He returned five days later with nearly 70 refugees from the war in Ukraine.
“All the people we brought back to Spain now have families, they now have papers and some are working. It changed their lives,” he says in an interview from his studio in northern Spain.
What started as a small Facebook fundraiser soon turned into a 20-vehicle convoy, which drove from the village of Capmany in northern Spain to the Red Cross refugee camps in Poland, loaded with approximately $40,000 worth of equipment.
In addition to donations from friends and family, Comas’ trip was funded, in part, by an ETH of The Infinite Machine Movie and Collection, the NFT project which helps finance the film based on the book of the same name written by the defiant Founder Camila Russo. Comas was among 50 artists who had contributed NFT art to the project.
The Comas convoy is the latest example of how crypto is helping activists and volunteers in the war effort. While sanctions impede the free flow of money, crypto can reach anyone, anywhere and anytime – and can draw on a large pool of newly created investors.
After Ukraine opened the floodgates to crypto last month, the country raised over $60 million in cryptocurrencies. Crypto exchanges like Binance and FTX helped the cause, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin donated $5 million, and Ukraine DAO raised $6.6 million for a single Ukrainian flag NFT.
Comas has been involved in crypto for eight years. Well – he would have forgot about seven or eight ETH he bought years ago, and quickly joined the fray as an NFT artist last year. Apart The infinite machine NFT, collections so far include a postmodern reimagining of Spanish ham (no buyers yet).
He says the hardest part of the trip was watching the refugees come to terms with what they had lost, clutching the belongings of their old lives – often nothing more than a plastic bag full of clothes. “They accepted [their new life] the same time. And they were crying and crying in the car,” he said. “It was the most difficult times.”
“We’ve heard some pretty tough stories,” he says. Comas again tells the story of an artist in the group who says a missile destroyed her building in Bucha, crushing her neighbors as it crumbled into its foundation. If another had taken the same train a day later, she likely would have been caught by a Russian bomb, Comas said. One was the sole survivor in a car shot down by Russian soldiers.
One of the refugees, Lena Cupina, speaks to us through a translator. “Since getting in his car, I realized I was finally safe and it was probably the start of something new,” she says.
“If your country is f#@ked, you need to get the [email protected]#k away from it,” she says. “I understand that not everyone can do that. Psychologically, it’s very difficult for people there – even though their homes have been destroyed – to accept the fact that they lost, and that they are in the worst situation.
She plans to stay with Comas for a few months, working as an artist to help fund her friends and family stuck in Ukraine.
He wants to get her into the NFTs.