Interview with Journalist and Kids of War NFT Charity Co-Founder Anastasiia Lapatina
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the crypto and specifically NFT-communities have played a crucial role through their efforts to mobilize massive aid and relief funds. One of the most recent individuals who stands out for her dedication and knowledge amidst the tangle of the conflict is the Kyiv Independent journalist Anastasiia Lapatina. With over half a million followers on Twitter, she has been reporting to her audience on the latest situation and its effect on the social and cultural landscape in Ukraine.
We to Lapatina to get to know more about her newly launched Web3-native art project, kidsofwar.art. It presents an NFT-collection of “drawings done by Ukrainian children whose lives were forever changed by Russia’s war.”
Tell us about yourself, how did you come about being a part of this project?
I’m a journalist from Ukraine who, since February the 24th, has been covering Russia’s full-scale attack on my home. A few weeks into the war, I was approached by a good friend of mine, someone I’ve known since early childhood, who said there was an idea to create an NFT project to raise some money for charity. He said he knew a team that had created NFT collections before, and the guys wanted to collaborate with me. I immediately thought it was a great idea because I knew that I had to use my large audience on social media to do a good thing and provide help in whatever way I could, so we had a call. Artem, my friend, from Manhattan, me from Prague, and the guys who are developers scattered all over Ukraine, including Kyiv.
Why did you choose working with children to launch a charitable NFT collection? Were you inspired by other projects like this?
We had many ideas, including general Ukraine-inspired art. But after a few sessions of brainstorming, we thought we wanted to do something more specific and with a narrower purpose. We were in awe of the sheer talent Ukrainian children have, and, of course, heartbroken that instead of drawing their happy families, they’ve switched to illustrations of soldiers and bomb shelters. So we decided that using children’s drawings specifically to help children-oriented charities is the perfect way to go.
In part, we were inspired by the work done by Reli3f – their result was very impressive, and a bit intimidating at the same time. There were also other similar projects that used children’s drawings, but all were in one way or another different from us. Kids of War is the first collection of 200 works on the Ethereum blockchain that follows the ERC1155 standard.
With the help of NFTs, and blockchain technology, one can quickly and efficiently raise money for a cause, without any restrictions from banks or governments. Moreover, you can do it completely transparently, because all transactions are visible on the web.
How did the team come together?
As most work teams in the last few years, we started with a call – Artem introduced me to the guys, we talked about our values and the shared vision we have for this. I needed the whole process to be as transparent as possible, and I needed to be able to trust everyone on the team. Luckily, that’s exactly how we work – they deal with NFT developing, I deal with communications, and each trusts the other on what they do best. We make all decisions together and have nearly daily calls, even if it’s just 5 minutes to discuss a caption for a photo. It matters to us that everyone feels as an equal.
What are your thoughts on Web3 and the use of blockchain?
Blockchain is a technology of today that is yet to realize its full potential. It is mainly used in financial fields like cryptocurrency, but we think that its real application is much wider. Already, Twitter and other platforms are implementing NFTs and you can use the NFT as your profile picture. Web 3.0 will have an impact on how applications are built. The web probably won’t become completely decentralized and there will be Web 3.0 elements in already familiar Web 2.0 applications and sites.
And you don’t need to go far – with the help of NFTs, and blockchain technology, one can quickly and efficiently raise money for a cause, without any restrictions from banks or governments. Moreover, you can do it completely transparently, because all transactions are visible on the web.
What are some of the charities you are working with?
We are working with three charities – Come Back Alive, Voices of Children, and Spunbond. For anyone who understands Ukrainian context, Come Back Alive doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a legendary non-profit that’s raised millions of dollars for military supplies like drones, night vision tools, and more. From the beginning, we knew that we had to help them despite our rather humanitarian focus because helping Ukraine’s Armed Forces remains Ukraine’s top priority. First and foremost, we need to stop the war to minimize casualties. As our First Lady Olena Zelenska said a few weeks ago, “baby food won’t be needed if children die”. Voices of Children is an organization with a long history too – since Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, they’ve been providing psychological help to kids who’ve been affected by war. These days, they work with over 50 therapists essentially 24/7. Spunbond is a small non-profit that we know through our friends. They aren’t as big or as public, but do very particular work – buying equipment for hospitals at the request of doctors. Since February the 24th, they’ve been focusing specifically on hospitals that treat injured children. We are in touch with one of their founders and are excited to see how we can help.
The Kids of War NFT-team spent over a month scouting out artworks made by children online. The final collection is a painful reflection of the realities of war, a reminder that Ukraine still needs the world’s support – as well as a statement that creativity and hope continue to flourish amongst its youngest generation.
The collection goes live on the 1st of June via kidsofwar.art