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Bitcoin has found its calling: As Ukrainians face escalating violence at the hands of Russian forces, the world’s premier cryptocurrency has become a key way for people to bypass centralized financial systems, store wealth and raise funds amid an unfolding humanitarian disaster.

With Washington leading worldwide sanctions against what it described as “Russian elites and their family members,” some have expressed concern that the supposed shady-nature of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could allow President Vladimir Putin and friends to evade those embargoes.

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