Bitcoin donations to Ukraine’s army have skyrocketed since Moscow launched a large-scale onslaught against the country early Thursday.
According to Elliptic, a blockchain analytics business, there was approximately $400,000 of donation in bitcoin for Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization that supports the armed forces, within a 12-hour period on Thursday.
The new batch of crypto donations builds on a recent pattern in which donations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have rushed into Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups attempting to fend off a Russian invasion.
As a result, the currency has been utilized for a variety of purposes. These include sending military equipment and medical supplies to the Ukrainian army and sponsoring the creation of a face-recognition technology to identify Russian mercenaries and spies.
“With the implicit sanction of governments, bitcoin is increasingly being used to crowdfund war,” said Tom Robinson, chief scientist of Elliptic, which sells blockchain analytics tools to banks and cryptocurrency platforms.
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Volunteer organizations have historically supported Ukraine’s military by providing resources and people. Volunteers stepped up to support demonstrators after overthrowing pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
Typically, private contributors send money to these groups via bank transactions or mobile payments. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, on the other hand, have grown in popularity as a way to avoid financial institutions that may block remittances to Ukraine.
According to Elliptic, volunteer groups and NGOs have raised over $1 million in cryptocurrency. However that number is rapidly rising as donations pour in despite Russia’s newly initiated attack.
For military equipment, training services, and medical supplies, Come Back Alive has accepted cryptocurrencies as payment since 2018. Since last year, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has received over $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency donations. These are in the form of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other stablecoins. Alliance cyberactivists have been attacking Russian targets since 2016, according to Elliptic.
When it comes to raising money for pro-Russian rebels, they’ve been utilizing bitcoin for a long time. For fear of “driving them towards crypto fundraising, which is far tougher to regulate,” Russian authorities, according to London-based fintech data researcher Boaz Sobrado, aren’t deleting opposition bank accounts.
Sobrado claims that crypto fundraising for unpopular causes has a lengthy history. Dating back to Wikileaks and Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who has also raised funds in bitcoin. On a national level, Ukraine has also taken moves to welcome cryptocurrencies.
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