Since the start of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, over US$37 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been donated to the Ukrainian government and Ukraine-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
This figure is rising rapidly as donations continue to pour in from crypto users around the globe.
Ukraine has been fairly progressive in its approach to crypto, having officially legalised Bitcoin and other digital assets in 2021.
The official Twitter account of the Ukrainian government issued a request for crypto donations on February 27, including to its official Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT (ERC-20) addresses.
Initially there was some scepticism about the legitimacy of the request, with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin tweeting a warning – but it was later confirmed the addresses were under the direct control of the Ukrainian government.
Analytics Show Most Donations Direct to Government
According to crypto analytics firm Elliptic, of the current donations, US$10.6 million has gone directly to the Ukrainian government from 13,670 individual transactions – including the donation of one NFT worth US$1.86 million, which was originally intended to raise funds for imprisoned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The remainder of the donations have gone to NGOs, most notably Come Back Alive, which has received over US$6.5 million in Bitcoin and has come to rely more heavily on crypto donations following the suspension of its Patreon account due to funding military activity.
Crypto Shines During Conflict, Both Sides Could Benefit
Many in the community have noted the advantages crypto provides over more traditional payment systems during times of crisis. While Russia looks like it may be entirely cut off from the SWIFT network and Patreon suspends the accounts of NGOs, crypto donations continue to flow unabated:
Of course, crypto’s decentralised nature allows for funds to flow freely to both sides of the conflict and there’s still significant doubt and concern about how crypto might influence the course of this, and future, military conflicts.
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