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Bitcoin Donations for Ukraine Flood in as Border Tensions Escalate

2 mins
9 February 2022, 10:13 GMT+0000
Updated by Kyle Baird
9 February 2022, 10:14 GMT+0000
In Brief
  • More than half a million dollars has been donated in crypto to Ukraine
  • Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups use it for supplies
  • Crypto crowdfunding is a growing trend
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People are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for fundraising and donations as they provide a faster, cheaper, and easier way to get the money where it is needed.

A Feb 8 report from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic has revealed that hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital currency donations have poured in to Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteer groups.

The report noted that crypto-asset funding to these types of organizations has increased by more than 900% in 2021 from the previous year. It added that it had identified several crypto wallets used by these volunteer groups and NGOs, collectively having received funds totaling more than $570,000.

Banks and financial institutions often block payments to these groups therefore crypto has emerged as the funding method of choice, it stated:

“Bitcoin has also emerged as an important alternative funding method, allowing international donors to bypass financial institutions that are blocking payments to these groups.”

Funding to fight oppression

Some of the funding has gone towards equipping the Ukrainian army with military equipment, medical supplies, and drones. A portion has also gone into the development of a facial recognition app to identify enemy mercenaries or spies.

Tom Robinson, the chief scientist at Elliptic, commented:  

“Cryptocurrency is particularly suited to international fundraising because it doesn’t respect national boundaries and it’s censorship-resistant — there is no central authority that can block transactions, for example in response to sanctions,”

The report noted that some of the Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups have close ties to the government which adds to a “trend of nation-states turning to cryptocurrency as a means of raising funds.”

Russian troops have been amassing on the Ukrainian border for several weeks as tensions between the two countries escalate. World leaders have been urging for diplomatic solutions but these have yet to see the light as the aggressors refuse to back down.

Bitcoin and crypto crowdfunding

Crypto is becoming a popular choice for crowdfunding movements and protests since centralized payments platforms often refuse to process payments, possibly in reaction to state pressure.

The current “Freedom Convoy Campaign” in Canada has also turned to crypto funding following the refusal by GoFundMe to process payments. The “HonkHonk Hodl” movement switched to the Bitcoin Tallycoin funding platform and has currently raised 14.6 BTC worth an estimated $640,000 at the time of press.

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) set up to fund WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s fight for freedom has also seen crypto donations flooding in. At the time of writing, AssangeDAO had concluded with a raise of 17,422 ETH worth around $54 million.


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