According to a blockchain analytics and data professional, bitcoin donations are helping to fuel Ukraine’s bitter standoff with Russia.
More than $500k in payments to Ukraine’s military were detected in cryptocurrency wallets by Elliptic, a leading provider of blockchain analytics for cryptoasset compliance based in London.
In the shadow of Russia’s border tensions, crowdsourcing has become a common practise in the region. Since the Maidan Revolution in 2014, which resulted in the removal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, funds have been raised on a regular basis.
Volunteer groups sprung up quickly to aid the demonstrators and the injured.
However, as the prospect of all-out conflict has increased, so has the level of funding. Over 900 percent of non-government military assistance organisations received cryptocurrency donations in 2021.
An investigation by the cryptocurrency platform Elliptic has found many bitcoin wallets used by various volunteer groups and non-profit organisations, which have combined received cash totaling $570,000 over the past year.
Over a third of Ukraine’s known funds come from a group called “Come Back Alive,” named after the inscriptions on the body armour issued to the country’s soldiers. In addition to medical supplies and military equipment, Come Back Alive currently offers a wide range of military training services. Even a drone-based observation and targeting system for Ukrainian artillery battalions was developed with its assistance.
The organisation, which was founded in 2014, began receiving cryptocurrency assets four years ago. The company’s digital wallet got $200,000 in Bitcoin in 2021, the majority of which was deposited.
As the movement grows, it isn’t only about buying medical supplies and military weapons.
Activists from the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, for example, have been hacking Russian targets since 2016. Many persons and organisations associated to Russian meddling in Ukraine have been targeted by this group, including propaganda websites, the Russian Defense Ministry, and others. It appears that Ukrainian agencies receive intelligence gathered as a result of these actions.
Myrotvorets Center, a third group, publishes the personal data of persons who are considered “enemy of Ukraine.”
As Elliptic’s co-founder and chief scientist, Tom Robinson, noted, “there’s no danger they’re going to get their assets seized or their account shut down, like might happen with PayPal,” the Ukrainian groups were interested in the censorship-resistant cryptocurrency.
According to him, “It’s proven itself to be a strong method of funding conflicts.”
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.