Bitcoin Crowd Funding for Ukraine Military and Logistics by Volunteer Groups
Around 100 miles from the border of Ukraine, in the districts of Kursk and Voronezh, Russia has already assembled over a million Russian soldiers in anticipation of a coming worldwide dread that Russia would attack Ukraine. And to supplement the country’s military and logistical resources in order to avert a full-fledged catastrophic war, Ukrainian volunteer groups are increasingly turning to bitcoin and cryptocurrency crowdfunding, according to data from Elliptic, a blockchain firm that specializes in developing analytics tools for platforms like Binance and Circle.
“Volunteer group actions have targeted propaganda websites, the Russian Ministry of Defense, and a variety of people associated with Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. According to the article, information gathered during these operations is purportedly shared with Ukrainian law enforcement and intelligence organizations.”
According to Elliptic’s principal scientist, Tom Robinson, “Cryptocurrency is increasingly being used to crowdfund war, with governments’ implicit sanction. Additionally, it is well-suited for international fundraising because to its lack of regard for national borders and resistance to censorship – there is no central authority that may prohibit transactions, for example in reaction to penalties”.
Thousands of dollars in donations have poured into numerous Ukrainian non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups. Several bitcoin wallets associated with these NGOs and volunteer groups received a total of around $5,70,000 in funds during the past year, the investigation found.
Among the organizations accepting Bitcoin donations is Come Back Alive, which provides crucial equipment, training, and medical supplies to the Ukrainian military. Since 2018, the organisation has received bitcoin contributions totaling almost $2,00,000, with a spike in the latter half of 2021.
The Ukrainian Cyber Alliance is another addition to the list, since it purportedly generates funds primarily via cryptocurrencies. While the Elliptic research indicates that the Alliance activists have been conducting cyberattacks on Russian targets since 2016, the group has collected about $1 million in donations, largely in bitcoin, litecoin, ether, and other stablecoins.
Myrotvotrets Center, a Kyiv-based NGO that has been taking cryptocurrency contributions from “more than 40 countries” since 2016 for its pro-Ukraine cause, has received around $2,67,000 from more than 100 bitcoin donations.
The business, which has links to the Ukrainian government, is now developing a face recognition program that would enable easy identification of “militants, Russian mercenaries, and war criminals,” in line with its modus operandi of sharing information about “Ukrainian adversaries.”
While traditional payment methods continue to account for a sizable portion of such bitcoin donations, crypto is proving to be a much more lucrative option due to its ability to circumvent conventional financial institutions that may refuse to make payments to Ukraine and is relatively difficult to track and monitor.
This is not the first time pro-Russian rebels have raised funds using bitcoin. A trend that has persisted since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2014. And Ukraine’s receptive posture toward cryptocurrency bodes well for the current state of affairs. Indeed, the nation intends to open the cryptocurrency market to companies and investors in 2022, according to Kyiv Post.
On an official state visit to the United States in August 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy touted the country’s developing “legal innovative market for virtual assets” as a selling point for investment, and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov added that the country was modernizing its payment markets, with Zelenskyy signing a law authorizing the central bank to issue its own digital currency.