Ukraine Received Crypto Donations of Over $15 Million

As the Russian invasion intensified over the weekend, Ukrainian officials made an unusual request on Twitter: send us your crypto.

A series of tweets, sent by government accounts, lists online wallet addresses for Bitcoin, Ether, and Tether, three of the most popular cryptocurrencies. Since then, cryptocurrency investors have donated more than $22 million in digital assets to the Ukrainian government and a nonprofit supporting the country’s military, according to data provided by the tracking firm. of the Elliptic blockchain on Monday evening.

The conflict in Ukraine has placed the growing cryptocurrency industry under new scrutiny, with The politicians and regulators worried that digital tokens could become a tool for sanctions-busting by Russian companies and government officials. But the cryptocurrency has also provided investors around the world with a way to quickly transfer funds to Ukrainian fighters, as more traditional crowdfunding strategies run into hurdles.

Last week, crowdfunding website Patreon took down a page run by Come Back Alive, a Kyiv-based organization that raised money to arm and train military personnel in Ukraine. Patreon said the 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 formed last week by crypto enthusiasts working with Russian protest group Pussy Riot. A spokeswoman for UkraineDAO said they raised over $4 million in cryptocurrency for Come Back Alive.

Band member Nadya Tolokonnikova said in an interview that Come Back Alive agreed to spend the funds on medical support for war victims, rather than arming soldiers.

“Blockchain allows us to expand our efforts in ways that weren’t possible for us before,” Tolokonnikova said, referring to the decentralized ledger system that underpins cryptocurrencies. “Old fundraising methods are sometimes very slow and just clumsy.”

Come Back Alive did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Elliptic, the Ukrainian group had raised over $7 million in cryptocurrency as of Monday night. The Ukrainian government received $15.4 million in cryptocurrency contributions, Elliptic said.

Donations are only a drop in the bucket in the context of the conflict. Last year, Ukraine’s defense budget was around $4 billion; Russia spends more than 10 times more on its army.

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