As tensions remain all-time high Ukraine is trying all options in mounting defense against a Russian attack that has positioned a massive 100,000 troops near the border. Ukrainians are raising funds through crowdfunding cryptocurrency to fight back.
A report by blockchain analytics company Elliptic showed a number of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations [NGOs] and volunteer groups flooded with Bitcoin donations.
Crypto donations have skyrocketed by almost 900 percent to more than $570,000 in 2021. The NGO and volunteer groups used a number of cryptocurrency wallets to access the funds. As per the report, Bitcoin has become an alternative funding channel for these groups as it allows donors to fund groups despite the restrictions imposed in the traditional financial system.
Elliptic’s Chief Scientist Tom Robinson told in a news interview that Cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming the hot favorite to crowdfund war, with the ‘tacit approval of governments.’
One such organization, called ‘Come Back Alive,’ aids the military with equipment, training services, and medical supplies. The group, which started accepting cryptocurrency in 2018, saw Bitcoin donations rise to $200,000 in the last six months of 2021.
Other examples are the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance and Belarusian Cyber-Partisans, both are hacktivists working on inflicting cyberattacks against Russian targets. Last year, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance received nearly $100,000 in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and a mix of stablecoins.
Kyiv-based NGO Myrotvotrets Center, which started accepting crypto donations in 2016, is working on a facial recognition app that will use photographs to identify “militants, Russian mercenaries, and war criminals.” Till now, Myrotvotrets Center has received nearly $267,000 through Bitcoin donations.
Ukraine emulating Russia
Interestingly, the Ukrainians adopted the crypto asset fundraising technique that Russians employed from the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists raised money by accepting crypto donations through a series of online campaigns.
The donations were then channeled through Russian and overseas banks. One such campaign, called ‘Save the Donbass,’ received at least 68 Bitcoin donations between 2014 and 2016.
Although cryptocurrency donations to Ukraine are rising, it still makes up a small portion of the funding. The majority of funds still flow into Ukraine in fiat currencies through the traditional payment route.