As tension on Ukraine’s border continues to increase, Bitcoin donations to Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are skyrocketing, according to a new report by blockchain analytics company Elliptic.
These aren’t charities dedicated to alleviating poverty or promoting social justice but about pro-Ukrainian hackers and military groups. According to Elliptic, NGOs and other organizations are utilizing cryptocurrencies to “crowdfund war.”
In preparation for a possible invasion, Russia has massed 100,000-130,000 troops on its borders with Ukraine and Belarus. The US, a Ukraine ally, has sent 3,000 soldiers to the region, with another 8,500 on high alert.
According to the report, in reaction to government corruption, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been gaining financial backing for soldiers, weapons, and medical supplies during the previous decade. Donors are utilizing Bitcoin to send money to such NGOs, according to Elliptic, circumventing banks or financial institutions that would stop transfers.
“Elliptic has identified several cryptocurrency wallets used by these volunteer groups and NGOs, which have collectively received funds totalling just over $570,000 – much of it over the past year,” states the report.
Come Back Alive, which offers training, military, and medical equipment, and the Myrotvorets Center, which has links to the Ukrainian government, are among the organizations receiving Bitcoin donations, according to Elliptic.
Others include the hacktivist organisations, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance and Belarusian Cyber-Partisans, both of which have carried out cyberattacks against Russian targets. According to Elliptic, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance alone has received about $100,000 in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and stablecoins in the last year.
According to Elliptic, the organisations are borrowing the idea from pro-Russian organizations, which began utilizing Bitcoin for fundraising as early as 2014.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, account for a minuscule percentage of the funding going into Ukraine. The majority of the funds are fiat currencies sent via standard payment mechanisms.