Resources, Links, and a Little Optimism
Welcome to the 1,341 newly Not Boring people who have joined us since our last Monday piece! Join 105,870 smart, curious folks by subscribing here: 105,870
Today’s Not Boring is brought to you by… Masterworks
“Making Money Is Art, Working Is Art, and Good Business Is the Best Art.”
That’s an Andy Warhol quote that I think about a lot with Not Boring. The business of Not Boring is part and parcel with the content; the business model is part of the art.
My business is supported by art. I’ve been fortunate enough to partner with Masterworks, the fintech unicorn that securitizes multimillion dollar paintings, from the beginning. I even own a Warhol through Masterworks.
Sometimes, though, business takes a backseat. This is one of those weeks.
This week, I’m teaming up with Masterworks to donate the full amount they’d normally pay me to sponsor Not Boring to charities supporting Ukrainians. We’re starting with a donation to UNICEF to help Ukrainian children.
It would be great if you thanked Masterworks – and added some low-correlation beauty to your portfolio – by signing up with this Not Boring referral link, but it would be even better if you joined us in donating. I’ll share some resources below.
Hi friends 👋,
There are better things for you to read this week than Not Boring.
Instead of an essay, either on a normal Not Boring topic – which feels off-key this week – or on the Russian invasion of Ukraine – which I would be somewhere around the ~4-7 billionth most qualified person to write, I want to take advantage of the fact that I have your attention to try to help in a few small ways:
Ways to Contribute
Articles and Credible News Sources
A Little Optimism
First, I’m partnering with Masterworks to donate all of the money that they normally would have paid me to sponsor today’s newsletter to charities supporting Ukrainians, starting with UNICEF: Protect Children in Ukraine. I’m also looking at supporting Come Back Alive and The UN Refugee Agency.
Second, I can point you to some more ways to contribute:
Ukraine Crypto Wallets
If you’re looking for a way to donate crypto, the Ukrainian government solicited donations in ETH and BTC on Twitter:
The addresses have been verified, and I donated without issues. Over $5 million has been donated via ETH alone, and you can see the wallet on Etherscan here for live updates (the amount on Etherscan is lower because they sweep out money periodically).
Requests and Recommendations from a Friend on the Ground
Dima Dewin, the Ukrainian founder of Norm who I’ve gotten to know through my friend Fed, managed to evacuate to Poland and is now coordinating other evacuations, transportation, lodging, basic supplies for dozens of Ukrainian creatives and tech folks. He's crowdfunding a paypal account for their needs. It’s not an official fund, but every penny will go directly to the needs of refugees. You can donate here (PayPal has limited donations to <$300 for now).
Dima also recommended a few organizations and funds fundraising to fight for peace, including Come Back Alive, and humanitarian efforts including:
Airbnb’s non-profit arm, Airbnb.org, will offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. These stays will be funded by Airbnb, donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, and the generosity of Hosts on Airbnb.org. You can volunteer to host or donate to cover costs of housing and relocation here.
UkraineDAO, organized by Pussy Riot and PleasrDAO, among others, is taking a slightly different approach to fundraising, more in line with ConstitutionDAO with a twist.
The group set up a PartyBid on an NFT of a Ukranian flag so that anyone could contribute any amount. All contributors will receive $LOVE tokens which “have NO utility nor value, but are a beautiful testament and reminder of your contribution to a noble cause.” UkraineDAO has raised $3.3 million already, and proceeds will go to Come Back Alive.
Lastly, this Notion doc has a long list of ways to help, financial and otherwise. It’s the most comprehensive I’ve found.
Third, sharing a few of the articles and credible news sources I’ve found most helpful to stay informed. There has been a ton of information flying around the internet. It’s been surreal to watch a war play out in real-time online, as many have pointed out.
Some of the info is good, some isn’t. This is some of the best I’ve found and that I’ve been following:
Twitter Follows: This Noah Smith list of (currently) 60 Twitter accounts to follow for expert analysis and on-the-ground news. h/t Trung. Replies to this Marc Andreessen tweet also have good lists and follows.
Essay: I thought Putin’s Miscalculation, a Politico piece by Zoya Sheftalovich, was excellent for a view on Putin’s old school approach.
Finally, an optimistic closing thought.
While the fact that the war started at all shows that there is real evil in the world, the response to it has been a reminder that most people in the world are good. It’s easy to forget when things are relatively comfortable and people get bored and squabble over petty things, but it’s been amazing watching both the unbelievable bravery of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, and the almost unanimous global support of the Ukrainians. I’ve also been impressed that the global online mobs have been quick to condemn Putin without blaming the Russian people, many of whom are doing what they can to support Ukrainians.
Specifically related to the topics we cover here normally – tech and web3 – there have been a few “wow” moments.
One was the official Ukrainian twitter account requesting, and receiving, donations in BTC and ETH.
It’s been fascinating to watch how easy it’s been for the world’s nations to shut the bad guy out of the financial system and how easy it’s been for the good guys to raise money from anyone, anywhere in the world instantly.
That said, I hope that in the next few days, the Ukraine addresses and UkraineDAO are able to raise a lot more money than they have so far. If we were able to raise $47 million to try to buy a symbol of democracy, we should be able to raise multiples of that to support a small country fighting to defend democracy against an autocratic giant. So give: here or here.
The second has been Elon’s impact.
On Thursday, Russia’s space agency chief threatened rival countries, asking “Who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?”
Elon responded the next day:
Then on Saturday, when the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted at Elon asking him to provide Starlink service, Elon responded in under 11 hours that it was live:
It’s unbelievable that a private citizen is able to marshall government-scale resources and tweet about it all in real-time. This war is going to be a wake up call. Instead of mocking Elon, we need leaders who will encourage a thousand more Elons. First up: we need a nuclear power Elon.
The third thing that makes me optimistic is that social media gave a platform for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people to display their bravery and rally support in real-time.
With everything moving so quickly, the ability to marshall global support in minutes can’t be overestimated. Social media is called a mirror on humanity – and we often don’t like what we see – but I’ve been really inspired watching most people in the world rally behind the good guy instead of the troll when it really matters.
In Sc3nius, I wrote that emergence from catastrophe was one of the necessary precursors to the kind of collective genius that pushes the world forward. COVID was one such kick, and it spurred a ton of progress in the world of bits. I think that this invasion will have a similar effect on atoms-based innovation. Already, Germany has increased its defense budget to 2% of GDP, the world has woken up to the importance of energy independence, and politicians who obstruct progress in the name of partisanship won’t be viewed kindly.
For now, though, this war is far from over. As Putin’s grip on power slips, he becomes even more dangerous. If you haven’t yet and you can, I’d encourage you to give or contribute in some way.
I’m optimistic that the past four days have helped people re-discover that most other people are good, that there’s real value in technological superiority, and that while the internet can be a weird place, it can also rally support behind heroes at lightning speed.
Glory to Ukraine.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week,