The Ukrainian government has received over $15 million in cryptocurrency donations.
As Russia’s invasion escalated over the weekend, Ukrainian officials made an unusual request on Twitter: send us your crypto.
A series of tweets, sent by Government AccountsOnline wallet addresses listed for Bitcoin, Ether and Tether, the three most popular cryptocurrencies. Since then, cryptocurrency investors have donated more than $22 million worth of digital assets to a non-profit that supports the Ukrainian government and the country’s military, according to data provided by blockchain tracking firm Elliptic on Monday evening.
Conflict in Ukraine has brought the growing cryptocurrency industry under new scrutiny politicians And regulators expressed concern that digital tokens could become a tool for sanctions evasion by Russian businesses and government officials. But the cryptocurrency has offered investors around the world a way to quickly transfer money to Ukrainian fighters, as more traditional crowdfunding strategies pose obstacles.
Last week, crowdfunding website Patreon took down a page run by the Kyiv organization Come Back Alive, which has raised funds to arm and train military personnel in Ukraine. Patreon said Page violated its rules against funding military activities.
But Come Back Alive now has a new source of funding: a crypto collective called UkraineDAO, which was created last week by crypto enthusiasts working with Russian protest band Pussy Riot. A spokesman for UkraineDAO said it had raised more than $4 million in cryptocurrency for Come Back Alive.
Nadya Tolokonnikova, a member of the band, said in an interview that Come Back Alive had agreed to spend the money on medical aid for the victims of the war rather than arming soldiers.
“Blockchain allows us to scale up our efforts in a way that was not possible for us before,” said Ms Tolokonnikova, referring to the decentralized ledger system that underpins cryptocurrencies. “The old ways of raising money are really slow and clumsy sometimes.”
Come Back Alive did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Elliptic, the Ukrainian group had raised more than $7 million in cryptocurrency as of Monday evening. Elliptic said that the government of Ukraine had received $15.4 million in cryptocurrency contributions.
In the context of conflict, charity is a drop in the bucket. Ukraine’s defense budget last year was about $4 billion; Russia spends more than 10 times on its army.
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